Special Report

The Largest Employer in Every State

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Walmart is by far the largest employer in the United States, employing over 1.5 million Americans. However, other companies are beginning to close in on Walmart’s lofty headcount. Of note is the country’s second largest employer, Amazon, which thanks to rampant growth and the acquisition of businesses such as Whole Foods, added 150,000 workers last year alone. The company now employs over 560,000 Americans.

Most state economies are relatively diverse, yet it is not uncommon for a single industry to have an outsized impact on a state’s economy and labor market. In many 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 about 22.3 million government employees nationwide. In contrast, Walmart — 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, Walmart is often the largest employer in a state, but a number of other organizations — often a state university or hospital network — 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, Walmart employed 168,403 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.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this piece listed MaineHealth as the largest employer in the state of Maine. In fact, the largest employer in the state is the EMHS network of hospitals.

1. Alabama
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 37,207
> Industry: Retail

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2. Alaska
> Largest employer: Providence Health & Services
> Employee headcount: ~4,500
> Industry: Hospitals

3. Arizona
> Largest employer: Banner Health
> Employee headcount: 43,128
> Industry: Hospitals

4. Arkansas
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 52,367
> Industry: Retail

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5. California
> Largest employer: University of California
> Employee headcount: 198,300+
> Industry: Public universities

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

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

8. Delaware
> Largest employer: Beebe Medical Center
> Employee headcount: 30,000
> Industry: Hospitals

9. Florida
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 107,460
> Industry: Retail

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10. Georgia
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 60,002
> Industry: Retail

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

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

13. Illinois
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 53,687
> Industry: Retail

14. Indiana
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 39,875
> Industry: Retail

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

16. Kansas
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 20,103
> Industry: Retail

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17. Kentucky
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 29,554
> Industry: Retail

18. Louisiana
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 36,309
> Industry: Retail

19. Maine
> Largest employer: EMHS
> Employee headcount: 12,049
> Industry: Hospitals

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

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

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22. Michigan
> Largest employer: General Motors
> Employee headcount: 52,811
> Industry: Public universities

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

24. Mississippi
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 24,180
> Industry: Retail

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25. Missouri
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 42,029
> Industry: Retail

26. Montana
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 4,861
> Industry: Retail

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

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

29. New Hampshire
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 7,593
> Industry: Retail

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

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

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

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

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

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35. Ohio
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 50,186
> Industry: Retail

36. Oklahoma
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 32,713
> Industry: Retail

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

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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40. South Carolina
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 32,165
> Industry: Retail

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

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42. Tennessee
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 40,598
> Industry: Retail

43. Texas
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 168,403
> Industry: Retail

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

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

46. Virginia
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 43,623
> Industry: Retail

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

48. West Virginia
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 11,864
> Industry: Retail

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

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50. Wyoming
> Largest employer: Walmart
> Employee headcount: 4,648
> Industry: Retail

As the world’s largest retailer, Walmart has a uniquely large impact on many state economies, and it is the largest employer in 22 states. The 53,310 people Walmart employs in Arkansas — the retailer’s home state — account 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 Walmart, 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 that 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 certain state government employers such as public universities as independent organizations, in keeping with how states frequently identify and compare company headcounts. Military bases were excluded from the list. In cases where a single university or health care system considered employees at its various colleges, laboratories, and medical centers as falling under one umbrella, employee counts were combined. In cases where a spokesperson from the medical centers or universities identified the organizations as distinct employers, they were counted separately.

This is the largest employer in every 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.

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