Special Report

Largest Industry in Each State

Source: Thinkstock

11. Hawaii
> Largest industry: Accommodation
> Industry GDP contribution: $3.8 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 5.3%
> Industry workforce: 78,342

Hawaii’s economy is highly dependent on tourism. In 2015, a record 8.7 million visitors contributed significantly to the accommodations industry’s $3.8 billion in economic output that year. This was the largest contribution to state GDP, accounting for 5.3% of Hawaii’s GDP. Though Hawaii’s economic output accounts for only half a percentage point of total U.S. GDP, its accommodation industry accounts for a disproportionately high 2.9% of the industry’s nationwide output.

Source: Thinkstock

12. Idaho
> Largest industry: Computers and electronics manufacturing
> Industry GDP contribution: $2.5 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 4.2%
> Industry workforce: 11,885

While some might think agriculture would be the largest industry in Idaho given its famed Idaho potatoes, the computers and electronics components manufacturing industry is actually the largest. This is largely due to the presence of massive semiconductor company Micron, which is based in Boise and was actually financed by potato farmer J.R. Simplot. Still, Idaho is somewhat less dependent on its largest industry than most states as the industry accounted for just 4.2% of GDP, one of the smaller shares compared to the largest industries in other states.

Source: Thinkstock

13. Illinois
> Largest industry: Insurance
> Industry GDP contribution: $31.3 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 4.6%
> Industry workforce: 112,372

With $31.3 billion in economic output in 2015, Illinois’ insurance industry is larger than Vermont’s entire economy. The state is home to a number of insurance giants, including Allstate, State Farm, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. The state’s insurance industry expanded by 3.7% in 2015, outpacing Illinois’ 1.0% overall GDP growth that year.

Source: Thinkstock

14. Indiana
> Largest industry: Chemical products manufacturing
> Industry GDP contribution: $21.3 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 7.2%
> Industry workforce: 30,957

The chemical products manufacturing subsector includes pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, and Indiana is home to several drug companies, including Eli Lilly, one of the largest drug makers in the United States. Chemical products manufacturing employs over a quarter of a million people in the state and accounts for 7.2% of its total GDP.

Source: Thinkstock

15. Iowa
> Largest industry: Insurance
> Industry GDP contribution: $14.3 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 9.1%
> Industry workforce: 42,603

While Connecticut’s capital, Hartford, is sometimes referred to as the insurance capital of the world, another state capital also serves as a major center of operations for the industry. Iowa’s capital of Des Moines has more than 80 separate insurance agencies operating in the city. On the whole, Iowa’s insurance industry employs more than 42,000 people and contributes over $14 billion to the state’s economy, or over 9% of total state GDP. The industry is also on the rise, having increased by 13.7% in 2015.

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