The nation's largest retailer Wal-Mart easily tops the list by employing the most people in 20 states
It is essential for a state’s economy to have a diverse array of companies. Still, the impact each of the companies has on a state’s economy varies considerably.
In each state, there is one company that employs the most people. As a state’s largest employer, the company may have a disproportionately large impact on its economy as well as on the surrounding region. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from a range of sources in order to identify the largest employers in each state.
There is a large variation in the number of workers that the largest employers in each state employ. In Maine, the largest employer — Hannaford Bros. — employs only 8,000 workers. By contrast, in Texas, the largest employer — Wal-Mart — employs more than 156,000 workers.
Wal-Mart is the only company to claim the top employer spot in more than one state. In fact, the nation’s largest retailer employed the most people in 20 states.
Educational and medical institutions also frequently top a state’s list of employers. The most common largest employer across the 50 states, after Wal-Mart, was the state’s university system. Educational services dominated statewide employment in 13 of the states. The largest employer in 11 states was health care and social assistance institutions.
The largest employer in each state also tended to serve and employ people from the surrounding region, if not across the nation. The total headcount for these large employers often far exceeded the statewide headcount.
To determine the largest employer in each state, 24/7 Wall St. looked at employment figures for nonprofits and private and publicly held companies based on company press releases, government data, business journals, and local media reports. We excluded military bases and other federal and state government employers, with the exception of state universities, which were included.
These are the largest employers in each state.
Nearly 40,000 Virginia residents were employed by Wal-Mart at the end of last year, more than any other company in the state. State lawmakers turned down six proposals to raise Virginia’s minimum wage in the most recent legislative session. Wal-Mart, however, announced it would raise wages for 500,000 of its workers, a move that will likely impact a number of employees in Virginia.
Aeronautics defense company Boeing is Washington’s top employer with 80,241 employees in the state. Boeing has become known primarily for its commercial jets, but it is also one of the world’s largest arms producers. Microsoft, the state’s next largest employer, had a total statewide headcount of roughly half that of Boeing’s.
West Virginia’s 44 Wal-Mart locations employed 10,855 state residents at the end of 2014, more than any other employer in the state. According to West Virginia’s MetroNews, Wal-Mart has been the state’s largest private employer since 1998.
University of Wisconsin System is the largest employer in Wisconsin with more than 39,000 employees. Across all of its schools, the system serves roughly 180,000 students each year.
More than 4,000 Wyoming residents worked at a Wal-Mart at the end of last year. While this was a relatively low headcount compared to other states, no other company employed more people in the nation’s least populous state. The average wage of Wyoming Wal-Mart workers was $13.36 an hour as of November 2014.
For the original list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.