Special Report

Largest Industry in Each State

16. Kansas
> Largest industry:
Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities
> Industry GDP: $4.6 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 3.5%
> Industry private workforce: 86,797

Hospitals and assisted living facilities are a $4.6 billion industry in Kansas. Nearly 8% of the state’s non-government workforce is employed in this industry. Of the nine states where hospitals and assisted living facilities are the largest industry, Kansas’s hospital sector contributed the least, to both total private employment and GDP as a percentage of the state’s economy. The University of Kansas Medical Center, a major research institution, employs thousands of Kansas City residents. In 2014, the KU Medical Center received $55.8 million in funding.

17. Kentucky
> Largest industry:
Motor vehicles, bodies and trailers, and parts manufacturing
> Industry GDP: $7.9 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 4.6%
> Industry private workforce: 52,980

Manufacturing automobiles and automobile parts is a nearly $8 billion industry in Kentucky. Some of the world’s biggest car companies, including Ford, GM, and Toyota, have invested billions in manufacturing plants throughout the Bluegrass State. In 2013, 1.25 million vehicles were produced in Kentucky. The industry comprises 4.6% of the state’s GDP and employs 3.5% of its private workforce.

18. Louisiana
> Largest industry:
Chemical products manufacturing
> Industry GDP: $15.4 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 7.3%
> Industry private workforce: 23,305

Chemical giant Dow has six plant locations in Louisiana, and Dow Louisiana is the largest petrochemical company in the state. According to the company, its presence provides thousands of jobs to state residents and generates more than $1 billion for the state’s economy annually. The chemical products manufacturing industry as a whole, the state’s largest, pumps an estimated $15.4 billion into the economy, accounting for 7.3% of the state’s total GDP.

19. Maine
> Largest industry:
Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities
> Industry GDP: $3.3 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 6.5%
> Industry private workforce: 55,971

As in eight other states, the hospital and nursing and residential care facilities industry is the largest subsector in Maine. Licensed nurses and medical and health services managers work in the industry. Nationwide, home health aides make up the largest share of the industry’s employment, with 237,690 home health aides as of last year.

20. Maryland
> Largest industry:
Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP: $11.2 billion
> Industry GDP as pct. of total: 3.5%
> Industry private workforce: 122,000

The ambulatory health care services subsector, which primarily provides outpatient health care, generates more than $11 billion in Maryland, more than any other industry in the state. According to the BLS, the Washington D.C. metropolitan area has one of the highest concentrations of ambulance workers. Like the state as a whole, area residents are relatively well paid. Ambulance dispatchers and other emergency workers in the D.C. area earn $47,200 annually, on average.

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