The Largest Employer in Every State

March 17, 2017 by Evan Comen

Source: Thinkstock
Most state economies are relatively diverse, yet it is not uncommon for a single industry to have an outsized impact on the state’s economy and labor market. In some cases, a single company employs a significant share of the state’s workforce.

State governments tend to be the largest employers in each state. There are more than 22 million public employees nationwide. In contrast, Wal-Mart — by far the nation’s largest private employer — employs about 1.5 million full-time workers in the United States. When excluding public administrative bodies, Wal-Mart is often the largest employer in a state, but a number of other organizations also emerge as the biggest employer on the state level.

The size of these companies varies considerably. In Alaska, the Providence Health & Services network of hospitals employs around 4,000 people. In Washington state, Boeing employs 18 times as many people. In Texas, Wal-Mart employs 171,531, at last count. Based on the most recent available full and part-time employee counts, these are the largest employers in each of the 50 states.

Click here to see the Largest Employer in Every State.

As the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart has a uniquely large impact on many state economies, and it is the largest employer in 22 states. The 53,310 people employed in Arkansas — the retailer’s home state — accounts for about 30% of the state’s entire retail sector, and about 4% of the state’s total workforce.

Educational and medical institutions also frequently top a state’s list of employers. After Wal-Mart, one of the more common largest employer across the 50 states is a state’s university system. The State University of New York, which operates 64 campuses across the state, employs over 90,000 faculty and staff.

Similarly, organizations operating in the health care sector and have multiple large campuses across the state are often major employers as well. In 14 states, a health care network is the largest employer, including Partners HealthCare in Massachusetts, which employs 68,000 people. Several of these health care networks are also part of a university system, such as the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, which employs 61,000 people in the state.

To determine the largest employer in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed employment figures for nonprofits and private and publicly held companies from company press releases, government data, business journals, local media reports, as well as statements from company representatives. For the purposes of our analysis, we treated some state government employers like public universities as independent organizations, in keeping with how states frequently identify and compare company headcounts. Military bases were excluded from the list. In many cases, employee counts for the various colleges, laboratories, and medical centers falling under a single university system were combined. This was because these systems frequently attribute employees from the university and medical centers together. However, when a spokesperson from the medical centers or universities identified the organizations as distinct employers, they were counted separately.

This are the largest employer in every state.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article listed Wal-Mart as California’s largest public employer. In fact, the University of California system is the state’s largest employer.

1. Alabama
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 38,041
> Industry: Retailers

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

2. Alaska
> Largest employer: Providence Health & Services
> Employee headcount: ~4,000
> Industry: Hospitals

Source: courtesy of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

3. Arizona
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 33,910
> Industry: Retailers

Source: Brandonrush / Wikimedia Commons

4. Arkansas
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 53,310
> Industry: Retailers

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Source: universityofcalifornia.edu

 

 

5. California
> Largest employer: University of California
> Employee headcount: 190,000+
> Industry: Public universities

Source: Thinkstock

6. Colorado
> Largest employer: Denver International Airport
> Employee headcount: 35,000
> Industry: Airports

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

7. Connecticut
> Largest employer: Yale New Haven Health System
> Employee headcount: 22,193
> Industry: Hospitals

Source: christianacare.org

8. Delaware
> Largest employer: Christiana Care Health System
> Employee headcount: 11,100
> Industry: Hospitals

9. Florida
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 108,321
> Industry: Retailers

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10. Georgia
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 59,371
> Industry: Retailers

Source: Thinkstock

11. Hawaii
> Largest employer: University of Hawaii
> Employee headcount: 10,106
> Industry: Public universities

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Source: St. Luke's Health System

12. Idaho
> Largest employer: St. Luke’s Health System
> Employee headcount: 14,538
> Industry: Hospitals

Source: courtesy of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

13. Illinois
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 54,698
> Industry: Retailers

Source: walmartcorporate / Flickr

14. Indiana
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 39,667
> Industry: Retailers

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Source: Thinkstock

15. Iowa
> Largest employer: University of Iowa
> Employee headcount: 24,598
> Industry: Public universities

Source: courtesy of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

16. Kansas
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 20,938
> Industry: Retailers

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17. Kentucky
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 30,181
> Industry: Retailers

Source: Brandonrush / Wikimedia Commons

18. Louisiana
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 36,992
> Industry: Retailers

Source: Anthony92931 / Wikimedia Commons

19. Maine
> Largest employer: Hannaford Supermarkets
> Employee headcount: ~8,500
> Industry: Supermarkets

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Source: Thinkstock

20. Maryland
> Largest employer: Johns Hopkins Institutions
> Employee headcount: 51,725
> Industry: Hospitals

Source: Wikimedia Commons

21. Massachusetts
> Largest employer: Partners Healthcare
> Employee headcount: 68,000
> Industry: Hospitals

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

22. Michigan
> Largest employer: University of Michigan
> Employee headcount: 48,060
> Industry: Public universities

Source: Sabine.ritzinger / Wikimedia Commons

23. Minnesota
> Largest employer: Mayo Clinic
> Employee headcount: 34,562
> Industry: Hospitals

24. Mississippi
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 24,898
> Industry: Retailers

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Source: courtesy of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

25. Missouri
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 43,203
> Industry: Retailers

Source: courtesy of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

26. Montana
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 4,776
> Industry: Retailers

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Source: Kiley / Wikimedia Commons

27. Nebraska
> Largest employer: University of Nebraska
> Employee headcount: 16,157
> Industry: Public universities

Source: Thinkstock

28. Nevada
> Largest employer: MGM Resorts International
> Employee headcount: 55,200
> Industry: Casino hotel

Source: courtesy of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

29. New Hampshire
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 8,284
> Industry: Retailers

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Source: Thinkstock

30. New Jersey
> Largest employer: Wakefern Food Corporation
> Employee headcount: 35,000
> Industry: Supermarkets

Source: Wikimedia Commons

31. New Mexico
> Largest employer: University of New Mexico
> Employee headcount: 33,390
> Industry: Public universities

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Source: crz4mets2 / Wikimedia Commons

32. New York
> Largest employer: State University of New York system
> Employee headcount: 90,033
> Industry: Public universities

Source: Thinkstock

33. North Carolina
> Largest employer: University of North Carolina system
> Employee headcount: 74,079
> Industry: Public universities

Source: Sdigitalmarketing / Wikimedia Commons

34. North Dakota
> Largest employer: Sanford Health
> Employee headcount: 10,581
> Industry: Hospitals

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Source: courtesy of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

35. Ohio
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 50,481
> Industry: Retailers

36. Oklahoma
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 34,014
> Industry: Retailers

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Source: oregon.providence.org

37. Oregon
> Largest employer: Providence Health & Services
> Employee headcount: 21,000+
> Industry: Hospitals

Source: Piotrus / Wikimedia Commons

38. Pennsylvania
> Largest employer: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
> Employee headcount: 61,000
> Industry: Hospitals

39. Rhode Island
> Largest employer: Lifespan system of hospitals
> Employee headcount: 14,000
> Industry: Hospitals

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Source: walmartcorporate / Flickr

40. South Carolina
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 32,267
> Industry: Retailers

Source: AlexiusHoratius / Wikimedia Commons

41. South Dakota
> Largest employer: Avera Health
> Employee headcount: 12,187
> Industry: Hospitals

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42. Tennessee
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 41,487
> Industry: Retailers

Source: Brandonrush / Wikimedia Commons

43. Texas
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 171,531
> Industry: Retailers

Source: Wikimedia Commons

44. Utah
> Largest employer: Intermountain Healthcare
> Employee headcount: 38,000
> Industry: Hospitals

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Source: Thinkstock

45. Vermont
> Largest employer: The University of Vermont Medical Center
> Employee headcount: 7,860
> Industry: Public universities

46. Virginia
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 44,621
> Industry: Retailers

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Source: Thinkstock

47. Washington
> Largest employer: Boeing
> Employee headcount: 71,036
> Industry: Manufacturers

48. West Virginia
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 12,321
> Industry: Retailers

Source: Thinkstock

49. Wisconsin
> Largest employer: University of Wisconsin
> Employee headcount: 39,000
> Industry: Public universities

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Source: courtesy of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

50. Wyoming
> Largest employer: Wal-Mart
> Employee headcount: 4,699
> Industry: Retailers