Special Report

Largest Industry in Each State

Source: Thinkstock

26. Montana
> Largest industry: Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities
> Industry GDP contribution: $1.92 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 4.8%
> Industry private workforce: 35,009

Health-related industries are often among the largest contributors to state economies. With its hospitals and nursing industry contributing close to $2 billion to its economy, Montana is one such state. In old age, there is a greater risk of injury and certain health conditions, and older individuals tend to visit the doctor more often. In Montana, 17.3% of the population is 65 or older, the fifth highest share of all states. By contrast, 14.9% of residents nationwide are 65 or older. The high share of elderly residents may partially explain the dominance of the state’s largest industry.

Nebraska Farm, Soybeans
Source: Thinkstock

27. Nebraska
> Largest industry: Farms
> Industry GDP contribution: $6.11 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 6.2%
> Industry private workforce: 11,473

Farms contribute more to Nebraska’s economy than any other industry. Producing more than $6 billion in output, farming accounts for 6.2% of GDP in the Cornhusker State. On a national scale, Nebraska ranks near the top in terms of agricultural exports. In 2015 alone, farms across the state slaughtered 6.6 million heads of cattle for commercial purposes, more than any other state. Additionally, farms across the state produced nearly 1.7 billion bushels of corn for grain production, trailing only two other states.

Las Vegas, Hotels, Belagio, Nevada
Source: Thinkstock

28. Nevada
> Largest industry: Accommodation
> Industry GDP contribution: $13.27 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 10.8%
> Industry private workforce: 195,061

Las Vegas, the largest city in Nevada, is iconic as a vacation destination for gambling and entertainment. Each year, the city attracts roughly 41 million visitors. Hosting all of these tourists contributes a great deal to the state economy. The accommodation industry alone accounts for more than a 10th of Nevada’s GDP. The industry also provides jobs for 17.8% of the state’s workforce.

Source: Thinkstock

29. New Hampshire
> Largest industry: Insurance carriers and related activities
> Industry GDP contribution: $3.28 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 5.0%
> Industry private workforce: 14,262

New Hampshire is one of six states where insurance carriers and related activities is the largest industry. The industry contributes $3.3 billion to the state’s economic output, or 5.0% of total GDP. Notably, the state was the first in the country to establish an agency to regulate the industry and enact and enforce relevant laws. Still acting in the public interest today, the New Hampshire Insurance Department was founded in 1851.

Source: Thinkstock

30. New Jersey
> Largest industry: Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP contribution: $19.82 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 4.0%
> Industry private workforce: 222,257

The U.S. health care industry is huge and is projected to grow at a faster pace than the economy as a whole in coming years. New Jersey is one of eight states where ambulatory health care services contributes more to overall GDP than any other industry. Health care has been a critical industry for the state historically as well. It is the only industry in the Garden State to have added jobs every year from 1990 to 2013.