Knowing who the largest employer of a state is can give you some very helpful context. In general, it means that most people you meet in that state work for that one company. Of course, that can change drastically from region to region, but at least this list will give you some reference.
Since about 2018, Amazon and Walmart have continued to battle for the number one position as the largest employer in the United States. Currently, Amazon sits behind Walmart as the second-largest private employer in the nation.
Largest Employers by State
When looking at the largest employer in each state, it becomes apparent quickly that that is often the state government or the local government of the state’s larger cities. With that in mind, the following lists only include privately owned companies that employ local residents. These lists attempt to exclude companies that are merely headquartered in a state but do not employ nearly as many people as other businesses, but for reference, we included government employment below.
While each company, no matter how large, has to have a home, listing those didn’t actually answer the question of what employers most people work for in Wyoming or New Hampshire or whichever state you are curious about.
Below the descriptions of each state’s largest employers is a table that includes the state’s top three largest employers and the state’s government employment for reference.
Walmart reports employing 40,884 people across the state, but the top employer in the Yellowhammer State is Redstone Arsenal, with roughly 45,800 employees. The third largest employer in Alabama is UAB or the University of Alabama at Birmingham, with over 26,000 employees.
Alaska doesn’t have many residents to start with, but most people you’d ask probably know someone who works at Providence Health & Services as they have over 4,000 employees. The second largest employer is Walmart, with 2,477 employees, and the third is AES Marine Support Services, an oil and gas field services company, with 1,812 employees.
The largest employer in Arizona is Banner Health with over 50,000 employees and 30 hospitals. The second largest employer is Walmart. Their corporate website reports having 37,432 employees and 84 Supercenters. The third largest employer is Wok Parent LLC, with over 26,000 employees. Wok is the parent company of P.F. Changs.
In over 100 different locations, Walmart employs 54,712 Arkansas residents making them the largest employer in the state. Tyson Foods Inc is the second largest employer with over 25,000 employees, and the third largest employer in the state is JB Hunt Transport with over 16,000 employees.
In California, two organizations are very close to being the largest employer, but with over 190,000 employees, the University of California beats out Amazon with 170,000 employees and is followed by Walmart with over 100,210 employees.
The largest employer in Colorado is the University of Colorado with over 36,500 faculty and staff. Following closely behind is the country’s largest airport, Denver International Airport, which currently employs 35,000 people. Walmart comes in third with over 29,000 employees.
Even in a small state like Connecticut, there are some big employers. For example, there is Yale New Haven Health with about 22,193 employees. Then, there is General Dynamic Electric Boat, a submarine builder, with over 13,000 people in their employ. An aircraft manufacturer named Lockheed Martin with Sikorsky follows at 7,000 employees.
With over 11,100 employees, ChristianaCare, a network of non-profit hospitals, is the largest employer in Delaware. The second largest employer is the pesticide and agricultural chemical company, Dupont Company, which employs approximately 21,000 Delaware residents. The third largest is Amazon, with over 7,000 employees in the First State.
Driving through Florida, there is one store that you see more than any other, so it makes sense that Publix is the largest employer in the state with over 160,000 employees in 843 stores. Walmart follows up with 117,206 employees, and The Walt Disney Company followers them at 77,000 for being the third largest employer in the state.
The Peach State’s largest employer is Walmart with 66,843 employees at over 300 locations. The second largest employer is Delta Airlines, with over 33,000 employees, and is followed by Home Depot, with over 30,000 employees.
With over 10,000 employees, the University of Hawaii is the largest employer. The second largest is the Pearl Harbor Ship Naval Shipyard, with 7,100 people in their employment. And for the third largest, we have Walmart, with 4,196 employees.
According to the Idaho Department of Labor, the largest employer in the state is St. Lukes Health System with over 15,000 employees, followed by Walmart at 9,000, and Micron with 5,000.
In Illinois, along with many other states in the midwest, Walmart is the largest employer, with over 57,000 people employed. Second, we have Northwest Medicine, which employs over 30,000 people. In third place, we have Advocate Aurora Health, the result of the merger between Advocate Health and Atrium Health, which employs over 26,000 people.
Indiana joins many, many other states in having Walmart as the largest employer in the state. They employ over 43,000 people in the Hoosier State. The second largest, with over 36,000, is Indiana University Health, which is followed by Eli Lily and Company with roughly 25,000 employees.
Hy-vee, a very common grocery store throughout the Midwest, is the largest employer in Iowa, with over 48,000 employees at more than 100 locations. The second largest employer is the University of Iowa with over 24,000 employees, followed by the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics with 16,500 employees.
Walmart has over 22,000 employees across Kansas, making it the largest employer in the state. Spirit Areosystem, a leading manufacturer of “aerostructures for commercial airplanes, defense platforms, and business/regional jets,” comes next, with over 12,000 employees. Third, the University of Kansas employs over 10,000 Kansans.
In the Bluegrass State, the largest employer is Walmart with over 31,000 employees. Not far behind, there is Catholic Health Initiatives - St. Joseph Branch, a faith-based non-profit health system, with over 27,000. University of Kentucky follows with 24,000 employees.
Along with many other states in the south, Louisiana’s largest employer is Walmart with over 36,992 with Oschner Health following just behind at 36,000 employees. In third place, Acadia Healthcare has over 22,500 employees.
In Maine, the top three employers are Maine Medical Center (9,600 employees), Hannafords Brother Company (8,500 employees), and Walmart(7,700 employees).
The Baltimore Sun reports the top employers in Maryland as 1) Giant Food with 27,000 employees, 2) John Hopkins Medical Institutions with 22,000, and 3) Medstar Health with 22,000 employees.
By far, the largest employer is Mass General Brigham with over 70,000 employees across the state. The second largest employer is the University of Massachusetts, with 23,000 employees. The third largest employer is Austin Holdco, with over 22,830 employees.
In Michigan, the largest employer is General Motors, with over 52,000 employees. The University of Michigan is the second-largest employer with 48,000 employees, followed by Ford Motor Company, which employs 46,000 people.
The state of Minnesota keeps track of employment and created a report of the top employers in the state. The first is Mayo Clinic with 48,000+ employees, followed by Allina Health System with 40,000+ and Fairview Health with 31,000 employees.
In Mississippi, the largest employer is Walmart with 25,200 employees. Not far behind is Sanderson Farms with 17,000 and Mississippi State with 10,000.
Walmart is the largest employee in Missouri with over 43,200 employees. BJC Healthcare and Washington University are the second and third largest employers with 29,500 and 19,000, respectively.
Talen Montana is a coal-fired power plant located in southwestern Montana, and they are the state’s largest employer with over 12,000 employees. Fringe Benefit Resources, which provides insurance brokerage services, is the second largest employer in Monatan with around 12,000 employees. Walmart is the Treasure State’s third largest employer, with almost 5,000 employees across 16 different locations.
University of Nebraska is not the largest organization based in Nebraska, but it is the largest employer in the state with over 16,000 employees. Coming in with almost 13,000 employees, we have Walmart followed by Berkshire Hathaway. And even though a massive company like Berkshire Hathaway has over 380,000 employees globally, in Nebraska, where they are headquartered, there are roughly 7,900 employees making them the third-largest employer in the state.
Walmart is the largest employer in Nevada with over 15,700 employees in over 50 locations. Wynn Las Vegas comes second and is one of three resorts that Wynn Resorts owns, meaning that in Nevada they employ over 10,000 people. The Bellagio is the third largest employer, with over 8,000 employees working within the 77-acre resort.
Walmart has over 8,000 employees in 28 locations, making them the largest employer in the state with Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Keene State College with 6,000 and 5,700 employees respectively.
Amazon is New Jersey’s largest employer with over 49,000 employees across the state. ATT follows closely behind with 48,000 employees. Walmart is the third largest employer in New Jersey, with 25,000 employees in over 70 locations.
The University of New Mexico is the largest employer in the state with over 15,000 employees across the state. Walmart follows closely behind with almost exactly 15,000 employees in over 53 locations. Presbyterian Healthcare Service’s LinkedIn account claims to be the largest employer in the state with “nearly 14,000 employees,” but that actually makes them the third largest employer.
New York’s largest employer is overwhelmingly North Shore-LIJ Health System, also known as Northwell Health with over 80,000 employees across 880 locations throughout the state. The second largest employer is Mount Sinai, with over 42,000 employees. The third largest is Walmart, with over 38,000 employees.
In North Carolina, the state reports that the largest private employers are Walmart (61,000), Duke University (43,000), and Food Lion (82,000 total, roughly 20,000 within the state).
Sanford Health is the largest employer in the state of North Dakota with over 15,000 employed at more than 155 locations. Walmart is the second largest employer with roughly 4,600. The third-largest employer in North Dakota is Doosan Bobcat with more than 3,500 employees.
Ohio’s Department of Development reports that the largest employers in the state in 2021 were Walmart (53,300 employees), Cleveland Clinic Foundation (52,600 employees), and Kroger (42,000). Walmart’s website, today, reports that there are 55,300 employees across 170 locations.
The largest employer in Oklahoma is Walmart with almost 35,000 employees. The second largest employer is Amazon who, across 3 facilities, have 12,000 employees. And with almost 10,000 employees, Integris Health is the third-largest employer in the state.
A publication called Greater Portland reports that the largest employers in Oregon, in order from first to third, are Intel (22,000 employees), Providence Health & Services (21,000 employees), and Oregon Health & Science University (18,000 employees).
ABC27 reported that the largest employers in Pennsylvania are Walmart (57,000), University of Pennsylvania (53,000), and Giant Food Stores LLC (30,000).
Zippia and Lifespan’s website reports that the largest employers in Rhode Island are
- Lifespan hospital systems, with over 16,000 employees
- the University of Rhode Island, with 5,000 employees
- Brown University, with about 5,000 employees
South Carolina’s largest employer, like many other states, is Walmart with over 36,000 employees. The second and third-largest employers are Prisma Health and BMW with 29,000 and 11,000 employees, respectively.
Like North Dakota, the largest employer in South Dakota is Sanford Health, with almost 17,000. The second largest employer is Walmart, with almost 6,000 employees, and the third-largest employer is Monument Health, with over 5,000 employees.
As with so many states, Walmart is the largest employer in Tennessee, with over 43,000 employees. The second-largest employer, with over 30,000 employees, is FedEx. The third-largest employer is HCA Tristar has over 17,000, according to the LinkedIn profile.
Texas’ largest employer is Walmart with over 177,000 employees, which is the highest amount of Walmart employees out of all the states. Texas Medical Center is the second-largest with more than 120,000 employees. Amazon is the third-largest employer with over 95,000 employees.
Utah’s Department of Workforce Services reports that the three largest employers are Intermountain Healthcare (42,000), University of Utah & Hospital (23,000), and Walmart (20,000).
In the Green Mountain state, the largest employer, by far, is the University of Vermont Medical Center (9,000), followed by the Howe Library (5,000) and the Okemo Mountain Resort (3,000).
Back in 2019, Virginia Business put together a table with the state’s largest employers, including
- Mars Inc, a food manufacturer and distributor, with 100,000 employees
- Bechtel Corp., an engineering firm, with 55,000 employees
- Walmart, with 45,000 employees
The Seattle Times reported in 2021 that the largest employer was Amazon (80,000+), with Boeing (59,000) and Microsoft(47,000) following behind.
On its LinkedIn Account, the West Virginia University Hospital states that they have 16,000 employees, which would make them the largest employer in the state. Walmart is the second-largest employer, with over 12,000. Charleston Area Medical Center is the third-largest with over 8,000 employees.
The University of Wisconsin employs 40,000 people in the state, making them the largest employer. Walmart is the second-largest employer, with 32,000 employees. Aurora Health Care is the third largest employer, with over 17,000 people in their employ.
Walmart is the largest employer in Wyoming, with almost 5,000 employees. Zippia reports the University of Wyoming as the second-largest employer with 4,500 employees. Third, Sheridan College has 3,000 employees.