Special Report

Largest Industry in Each State

Many jobs are common across all U.S. states. Jobs like educators, food service workers, and government employees are necessary to sustain a population regardless of the state. But each state is also unique and has its own history, geography, and demographic makeup — as well as its own industrial makeup, with certain jobs and industries much more common compared to other states.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the largest industry in each state based on total GDP contribution from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The dominant industries in each state are as distinct as farming, computer manufacturing, oil extraction, and broadcasting.

The health of these industries to a large extent determines the health of the overall state economies. The oil and gas extraction industry, for example, has been on the decline in recent years as oil prices plunged from 2014 to 2016. As the largest industry in Alaska, its decline helps explain why the state is one of the fastest shrinking state economies. Here is a full list of the fastest growing and shrinking state economies.

In the vast majority of states, the real estate sector is the largest contributor to GDP. The sector was excluded from our analysis, as housing is a universal need irrespective of geography and fails to illuminate regional economic differences. Another sector we excluded for similar reasons was the government sector.

The largest industries in each state vary considerably in size. Vermont’s largest industry, ambulatory health care services, generated $1.5 billion in 2017. Meanwhile, Texas’s oil and gas extraction sector generated $197.5 billion in 2017 — more than the entire GDP of Montana, Vermont, Wyoming, and South Dakota combined. Texas is home to oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil, the largest company in the state. Not surprisingly, many of the largest companies in each state are in the largest industry. These are the largest companies in each state.

Click here to see the largest industry in every state
Click here to read our methodology