Special Report

Each State’s Largest Industry

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Pick any two cities or towns in the United States, and each will be home to people who work in very similar fields. Certain occupations in fields like education, sanitation, law enforcement, health care, and retail are common across the country as they are practical necessities. 

Still, the occupational makeup of different parts of the country varies in other important ways that are influenced by the areas’ history, geography, natural resources, local laws, and demographics. These factors can have considerable economic implications and lay the foundation of a given area’s industry composition.

Using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, 24/7 Wall St. identified the largest industry in each state by contribution to overall GDP. Because real estate accounts for the largest share of GDP in most states, and to better highlight regional differences, the real estate industry was excluded from our analysis. 

The strength of a given state’s overall economy often depends on the performance of its largest industry. For example, oil and gas extraction accounts for nearly one-quarter of Texas’ economic output, and as oil prices cratered in 2014 and continued to fall through 2016, Texas’ GDP remained effectively flat over those years even as the U.S. as a whole recorded growth. Here is a look at the state economies hit hardest by the COVID-19 recession

It is important to note that the largest industry in each state can vary considerably by economic output, depending on the size of the state. For example, in New York, monetary authorities generated $174.1 billion in 2019, while in neighboring Vermont, the largest industry, ambulatory health care services, generated just $1.6 billion. Here is a look at the states with the best and worst economies

Click here to see each state’s largest industry.
Click here to see our detailed methodology.

Source: krblokhin / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Alabama: Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP contribution: $10.4 billion (4.5% of total)
> Industry workforce: 100,031 (4.9% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +17.6%
> Avg. industry salary: $64,553 (32.2% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: clu / iStock via Getty Images

Alaska: Pipeline transportation
> Industry GDP contribution: $4.8 billion (8.9% of total)
> Industry workforce: N/A
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +32.3%
> Avg. industry salary: N/A

Source: csfotoimages / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Arizona: Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP contribution:> 5-yr. industry GDP change:
> Industry workforce: 172,433 (6.3% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +25.5%
> Avg. industry salary: $63,809 (18.6% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: Scott Eisen / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Arkansas: Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP contribution: $5.8 billion (4.4% of total)
> Industry workforce: 59,796 (4.7% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +24.0%
> Avg. industry salary: $64,186 (41.2% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: franz12 / Getty Images

California: Computer and electronic product manufacturing
> Industry GDP contribution: $110.3 billion (3.5% of total)
> Industry workforce: 281,023 (1.6% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +20.6%
> Avg. industry salary: $185,714 (160.3% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: RiverNorthPhotography / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

Colorado: Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP contribution: $14.0 billion (3.6% of total)
> Industry workforce: 139,996 (5.2% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +25.0%
> Avg. industry salary: $63,608 (2.9% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: ljubaphoto / E+ via Getty Images

Connecticut: Insurance carriers and related activities
> Industry GDP contribution: $23.0 billion (8.0% of total)
> Industry workforce: 61,923 (3.6% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +1.8%
> Avg. industry salary: $138,398 (98.4% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: simonkr / Getty Images

Delaware: Monetary authorities- central bank, credit intermediation, and related services
> Industry GDP contribution: $13.6 billion (17.6% of total)
> Industry workforce: 7,291 (1.6% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +27.5%
> Avg. industry salary: $98,802 (69.0% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: kali9 / E+ via Getty Images

Florida: Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP contribution: $51.4 billion (4.6% of total)
> Industry workforce: 521,568 (6.2% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +22.3%
> Avg. industry salary: $64,552 (24.8% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: YinYang / Getty Images

Georgia: Monetary authorities- central bank, credit intermediation, and related services
> Industry GDP contribution: $32.3 billion (5.2% of total)
> Industry workforce: 7,564 (0.2% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +28.6%
> Avg. industry salary: $90,592 (63.9% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: courtneyk / iStock via Getty Images

Hawaii: Accommodation
> Industry GDP contribution: $6.2 billion (6.5% of total)
> Industry workforce: 42,793 (6.0% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +38.0%
> Avg. industry salary: $52,973 (0.5% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: RyanJLane / E+ via Getty Images

Idaho: Farms
> Industry GDP contribution: $3.6 billion (4.3% of total)
> Industry workforce: 19,608 (2.8% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +16.0%
> Avg. industry salary: $37,642 (15.0% lower than avg. among all industries)

Source: scyther5 / iStock via Getty Images

Illinois: Insurance carriers and related activities
> Industry GDP contribution: $45.7 billion (5.2% of total)
> Industry workforce: 139,611 (2.3% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +17.3%
> Avg. industry salary: $99,628 (61.8% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: Traimak_Ivan / iStock via Getty Images

Indiana: Chemical manufacturing
> Industry GDP contribution: $23.3 billion (6.1% of total)
> Industry workforce: 31,565 (1.0% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +15.6%
> Avg. industry salary: $120,876 (147.7% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: youngvet / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

Iowa: Insurance carriers and related activities
> Industry GDP contribution: $18.5 billion (9.5% of total)
> Industry workforce: 52,046 (3.2% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +5.0%
> Avg. industry salary: $84,186 (73.0% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: FG Trade / E+ via Getty Images

Kansas: Rental and leasing services and lessors of nonfinancial intangible assets
> Industry GDP contribution: $6.7 billion (3.8% of total)
> Industry workforce: 3,835 (0.3% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +41.6%
> Avg. industry salary: $54,411 (13.2% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: Traimak_Ivan / iStock via Getty Images

Kentucky: Motor vehicles, bodies and trailers, and parts manufacturing
> Industry GDP contribution: $9.3 billion (4.3% of total)
> Industry workforce: 61,431 (3.1% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +14.6%
> Avg. industry salary: $66,973 (40.3% higher than avg. among all industries)

Louisiana: Petroleum and coal products manufacturing
> Industry GDP contribution: $20.8 billion (8.1% of total)
> Industry workforce: 11,379 (0.5% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +5.0%
> Avg. industry salary: $136,816 (177.6% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: DmitryPepper / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Maine: Hospitals
> Industry GDP contribution: $3.3 billion (4.8% of total)
> Industry workforce: 33,559 (5.4% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +7.3%
> Avg. industry salary: $64,486 (36.7% higher than avg. among all industries)

Maryland: Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP contribution: $15.8 billion (3.7% of total)
> Industry workforce: 150,609 (5.4% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +17.8%
> Avg. industry salary: $66,638 (5.8% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: Lisa-Blue / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

Massachusetts: Hospitals
> Industry GDP contribution: $22.1 billion (3.7% of total)
> Industry workforce: 198,546 (5.5% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +13.0%
> Avg. industry salary: $76,723 (1.7% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: TennesseePhotographer / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Michigan: Motor vehicles, bodies and trailers, and parts manufacturing
> Industry GDP contribution: $40.9 billion (7.6% of total)
> Industry workforce: 181,247 (4.2% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +8.8%
> Avg. industry salary: $82,813 (50.6% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Minnesota: Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP contribution: $17.0 billion (4.4% of total)
> Industry workforce: 156,050 (5.3% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +22.6%
> Avg. industry salary: $76,583 (28.4% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: gyro / iStock via Getty Images

Mississippi: Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP contribution: $5.1 billion (4.4% of total)
> Industry workforce: 51,535 (4.3% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +16.0%
> Avg. industry salary: $59,647 (46.6% higher than avg. among all industries)

Missouri: Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP contribution: $12.3 billion (3.7% of total)
> Industry workforce: 120,333 (4.2% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +17.0%
> Avg. industry salary: N/A

Source: fokusgood / iStock via Getty Images

Montana: Hospitals
> Industry GDP contribution: $2.5 billion (4.7% of total)
> Industry workforce: 25,583 (5.3% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +23.8%
> Avg. industry salary: $65,511 (46.0% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: Sitthiphong / iStock via Getty Images

Nebraska: Insurance carriers and related activities
> Industry GDP contribution: $11.1 billion (8.6% of total)
> Industry workforce: 30,137 (2.9% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +32.9%
> Avg. industry salary: $72,765 (52.1% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images

Nevada: Accommodation
> Industry GDP contribution: $17.1 billion (9.6% of total)
> Industry workforce: 189,499 (14.7% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +2.3%
> Avg. industry salary: $41,794 (18.7% lower than avg. among all industries)

Source: charliepix / iStock via Getty Images

New Hampshire: Insurance carriers and related activities
> Industry GDP contribution: $4.3 billion (4.9% of total)
> Industry workforce: 13,599 (2.0% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +-1.8%
> Avg. industry salary: $92,107 (57.0% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: ProfessionalStudioImages / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

New Jersey: Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP contribution: $27.2 billion (4.3% of total)
> Industry workforce: 244,625 (6.0% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +18.3%
> Avg. industry salary: $64,942 (3.6% lower than avg. among all industries)

Source: grandriver / iStock via Getty Images

New Mexico: Oil and gas extraction
> Industry GDP contribution: $7.5 billion (7.2% of total)
> Industry workforce: 4,372 (0.5% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +75.7%
> Avg. industry salary: $117,205 (149.1% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: olaser / iStock via Getty Images

New York: Monetary authorities- central bank, credit intermediation, and related services
> Industry GDP contribution: $174.1 billion (9.8% of total)
> Industry workforce: 97,155 (1.0% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +28.5%
> Avg. industry salary: $160,912 (113.5% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: SDI Productions / E+ via Getty Images

North Carolina: Monetary authorities- central bank, credit intermediation, and related services
> Industry GDP contribution: $34.9 billion (5.9% of total)
> Industry workforce: 9,664 (0.2% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +27.8%
> Avg. industry salary: $108,240 (106.6% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: grandriver / E+ via Getty Images

North Dakota: Support activities for mining
> Industry GDP contribution: $3.4 billion (5.9% of total)
> Industry workforce: 16,486 (3.5% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +-3.7%
> Avg. industry salary: $104,549 (93.2% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: fizkes / iStock via Getty Images

Ohio: Monetary authorities- central bank, credit intermediation, and related services
> Industry GDP contribution: $32.1 billion (4.6% of total)
> Industry workforce: 32,140 (0.6% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +32.4%
> Avg. industry salary: $72,365 (38.8% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: Susan Vineyard / iStock via Getty Images

Oklahoma: Oil and gas extraction
> Industry GDP contribution: $17.7 billion (8.7% of total)
> Industry workforce: 16,279 (1.0% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +9.1%
> Avg. industry salary: $145,703 (203.4% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: praetorianphoto / E+ via Getty Images

Oregon: Computer and electronic product manufacturing
> Industry GDP contribution: $16.1 billion (6.3% of total)
> Industry workforce: 38,576 (2.1% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +15.5%
> Avg. industry salary: $136,636 (148.3% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: Bill Oxford / iStock via Getty Images

Pennsylvania: Broadcasting (except Internet) and telecommunications
> Industry GDP contribution: $37.2 billion (4.6% of total)
> Industry workforce: 35,033 (0.6% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +9.7%
> Avg. industry salary: $96,788 (68.3% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: skynesher / iStock via Getty Images

Rhode Island: Insurance carriers and related activities
> Industry GDP contribution: $3.2 billion (5.2% of total)
> Industry workforce: 10,612 (2.1% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +11.7%
> Avg. industry salary: $86,263 (57.1% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: SDI Productions / E+ / Getty Images

South Carolina: Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services
> Industry GDP contribution: $9.9 billion (4.0% of total)
> Industry workforce: 171,193 (8.2% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +16.7%
> Avg. industry salary: $35,086 (24.4% lower than avg. among all industries)

Source: ferrantraite / E+ via Getty Images

South Dakota: Monetary authorities- central bank, credit intermediation, and related services
> Industry GDP contribution: $8.2 billion (15.0% of total)
> Industry workforce: 53,791 (12.0% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +29.8%
> Avg. industry salary: $65,539 (45.2% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: miromiro / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Tennessee: Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP contribution: $18.2 billion (4.8% of total)
> Industry workforce: 155,995 (5.2% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +17.1%
> Avg. industry salary: $66,230 (28.1% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: ablokhin / iStock via Getty Images

Texas: Oil and gas extraction
> Industry GDP contribution: $111.6 billion (6.1% of total)
> Industry workforce: 76,049 (0.6% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +24.1%
> Avg. industry salary: $207,903 (247.7% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: Victorburnside / iStock via Getty Images

Utah: Monetary authorities- central bank, credit intermediation, and related services
> Industry GDP contribution: $11.1 billion (5.8% of total)
> Industry workforce: 4,171 (0.3% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +32.1%
> Avg. industry salary: $71,347 (40.5% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: John Moore / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Vermont: Ambulatory health care services
> Industry GDP contribution: $1.6 billion (4.8% of total)
> Industry workforce: 17,271 (5.3% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +15.5%
> Avg. industry salary: $60,521 (22.7% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: metamorworks / iStock via Getty Images

Virginia: Computer systems design and related services
> Industry GDP contribution: $28.6 billion (5.1% of total)
> Industry workforce: N/A
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +23.2%
> Avg. industry salary: $125,773 (108.9% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: scanrail / iStock via Getty Images

Washington: Publishing industries (except Internet)
> Industry GDP contribution: $54.0 billion (8.8% of total)
> Industry workforce: 74,919 (2.2% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +58.9%
> Avg. industry salary: $246,039 (253.5% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: krblokhin / iStock via Getty Images

West Virginia: Mining (except oil and gas)
> Industry GDP contribution: $4.3 billion (5.4% of total)
> Industry workforce: 14,258 (1.9% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +6.2%
> Avg. industry salary: $87,510 (87.7% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: skynesher / E+ via Getty Images

Wisconsin: Insurance carriers and related activities
> Industry GDP contribution: $18.9 billion (5.4% of total)
> Industry workforce: 71,709 (2.4% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +7.8%
> Avg. industry salary: $78,377 (55.5% higher than avg. among all industries)

Source: PhilAugustavo / E+ via Getty Images

Wyoming: Mining (except oil and gas)
> Industry GDP contribution: $3.7 billion (9.2% of total)
> Industry workforce: 7,835 (2.6% of total employment)
> 5-yr. industry GDP change: +19.0%
> Avg. industry salary: $95,068 (90.6% higher than avg. among all industries)

Methodology

To identify the largest industry in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed each state’s industries and their respective GDP contributions from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. All BEA data is as of 2019, the most recent period for which detailed data is available. With only a few exceptions, the largest industry in each state is real estate. In order to identify regional industrial differences, we excluded the real estate sector in our examination. All government sectors were also excluded. Only industries on the same subsector level were included, and as a result, broader categories such as manufacturing, construction and retail were not considered. Employment and wage figures for private employees in each industry came from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. The QCEW and BEA industry data were aligned according to their North American Industry Classification System codes.

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