Special Report

Largest Industry in Each State

Source: Thinkstock

26. Montana
> Largest industry: Hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities
> Industry GDP contribution: $2.0 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 4.9%
> Industry workforce: 105,027

Home to a little over a million people, Montana’s economy is one of the smallest of any state. The state’s 2015 GDP of $41.0 billion was larger than that of only three other states. Montana’s hospital and nursing home industry generated 4.9% of the state’s total GDP in 2015, more than any other industry. The elderly are more likely to require medical attention or reside in an assisted living facility, and 17.3% of Montana’s population are 65 or older, the fifth largest share of any state.

Source: Thinkstock

27. Nebraska
> Largest industry: Insurance
> Industry GDP contribution: $6.8 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 6.8%
> Industry workforce: 25,476

Nebraska’s insurance industry has grown in an explosive way in recent years. In 2011, the industry generated $4.2 billion in GDP. As of 2015, the industry’s contribution to the state economy had increased by over 60% to $6.8 billion. Despite being the largest industry in the state, Nebraska’s insurance workers are not compensated as well as workers in the industry nationwide. The average American insurance worker earns $81,146 annually, while the average insurance worker in Nebraska earns $64,926 annually.

Source: Thinkstock

28. Nevada
> Largest industry: Accommodation
> Industry GDP contribution: $13.6 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 10.8%
> Industry workforce: 390,122

Nevada is one of only seven states where a single industry accounts for more than 10% of total GDP. Due in large part to Las Vegas, Nevada’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism, and in 2015, the state’s accommodations industry generated $13.6 billion. Some 42.3 million people visited Sin City in 2015. Accommodations will likely play an increasingly larger role in the state’s economy as annual visits climbed to 42.9 million in 2016.

Source: Thinkstock

29. New Hampshire
> Largest industry: Insurance
> Industry GDP contribution: $3.6 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 5.3%
> Industry workforce: 14,262

In most states, the largest industry grew in 2015, contributing to state’s economic growth. New Hampshire’s insurance industry is a notable exception. While most of each state’s largest industries grew by at least 5% in 2015, New Hampshire’s contracted by 2.7%. Professionals in the state’s insurance industry tend to be are well compensated. Across the United States, the average annual salary in the industry is about $81,000. In New Hampshire, insurance workers earn over $87,000 on average.

Source: Thinkstock

30. New Jersey
> Largest industry: Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP contribution: $20.9 billion
> Industry output as pct. of GDP: 4.1%
> Industry workforce: 444,514

New Jersey’s economy was eighth largest of any state in 2015, with a GDP of over half a trillion dollars. Ambulatory health care services accounted for 4.1% of the state’s total economic output that year, the most of any industry. As the baby boomer generation ages, demand for medical care is projected to rise substantially. Not surprisingly, ambulatory health care services expanded by 4.6% in the Garden State in 2015, far faster than the state’s 1.6% total GDP growth.