Special Report

Largest Industry in Each State

Source: Thinkstock

21. Massachusetts
> Largest industry: Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities
> Industry GDP contribution: $20.0 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 4.6%
> Industry workforce: 880,755

Hospitals and nursing facilities generated nearly $20 billion in Massachusetts in 2015. People come from around the country to the state for its medical facilities and educational institutions. Both Harvard’s medical school and Massachusetts General Hospital rank among the best in the United States.

Source: Thinkstock

22. Michigan
> Largest industry: Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities
> Industry GDP contribution: $17.0 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 4.0%
> Industry workforce: 908,145

Perhaps somewhat surprising, auto manufacturing is not the largest industry in Michigan. Rather, the hospitals and nursing facilities industry is. The state has many such facilities, and they have a major impact on Michigan’s economy. The state is also home to Beaumont and Spectrum Health Butterworth — two of the largest hospitals in the United States, with over 1,000 beds each. Hospitals and residential care facilities generated $17.0 billion in 2015, more than any other industry in the state.

Source: Thinkstock

23. Minnesota
> Largest industry: Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP contribution: $12.9 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 4.4%
> Industry workforce: 283,206

After real estate, ambulatory health care services is the largest industry in Minnesota. As is the case in most states, Minnesota’s largest industry contributed to outsized economic growth in 2015. Ambulatory health care services grew by 6.3% in 2015, far faster than the state economy as a whole, which expanded by only 1.3% the same year.

Source: Thinkstock

24. Mississippi
> Largest industry: Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP contribution: $4.0 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 4.2%
> Industry workforce: 94,102

While certain industries are highly local and depend on a state’s resources, location, and other state specific factors, other industries are needed across the country, regardless of the local economy. Ambulatory health care services, a major industry in every state, is also Mississippi’s largest. The size of the industry in the state is likely bolstered by the large share of state residents that have need for care. Nearly one in every six state residents are on disability, one of the highest shares of any state.

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25. Missouri
> Largest industry: Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities
> Industry GDP contribution: $10.9 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 4.2%
> Industry workforce: 588,810

Hospitals and nursing homes employ over half a million people in Missouri and account for 4.2% of overall GDP. The state is home to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, one of the largest in the country with nearly 1,400 beds. As the baby boomer generation ages, health care is projected to grow far faster than most industries, and in 2015, Missouri’s hospital and nursing care industry expanded by 3.1% — more than double the state’s 1.4% overall economic growth.