Special Report

Largest Employer in Every State

Walmart is by far the largest employers in the United States, employing about 1.5 million Americans. Other companies, however, are beginning to close in on Walmart’s headcount.

Amazon, thanks to rampant growth and the acquisition of businesses such as Whole Foods, is now the nation’s second largest employer, although it has far to go to catch up to Walmart. The company now employs about 400,000 people in the United States.

State governments tend to be the largest employers in each state. There are over 5 million state government employees nationwide. When excluding public administrative bodies, Walmart is the largest employer in 22 states, but a number of other public organizations operating as companies — often a state university or hospital network — also emerge as the biggest employers on the state level.

The size of these companies and institutions varies considerably. In Alaska, the largest employer, the Providence Health & Services network of hospitals, employs around 4,000 people. In Washington state, Boeing employs nearly 80,000 people. In Texas, Walmart employs over 164,000 workers.

Based on the most recent available full- and part-time employee counts, these are the largest employers in each of the 50 states.

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 some cases, the employment count of a hospital network primarily located in a state included a small portion of out-of-state employees. If the network was determined to be mostly in-state, we kept the total employment figure when a state-specific employment count could not be determined. In those cases and some others, the values included are listed as estimates.

Correction: A previous version of this piece listed the largest employer in New Hampshire as Walmart. In fact, the largest employer is the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health System. 

Click here to see the largest employer in every state.

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