Here’s the company with the most employees in every state


Every state has certain employers that are vital to the economy. They are the companies and institutions that often have tens of thousands of people on their payroll, indirectly supporting other businesses with the cash they pay out to their many workers.

Using records and figures from various sources, we’ve put together a list of the single biggest employer in each state. To keep things more interesting and diverse, we’ve kept the nebulous organizations of simply “state government” and “federal government” off the list because those are actually the biggest employers in nearly every state.

If you think about it, you’ll probably know someone who works for the biggest employer in your own state.

Alabama — Redstone Arsenal

You’ll notice a few U.S. military installations on this list, as bases around the nation often employ tens of thousands of people at a time. One of them is Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal, built in 1941, which is managed by the Army and employs a whopping 60,000 people, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The base is located near Huntsville, in Madison County. The next biggest employer is the University of Alabama at Birmingham, also a public entity, but the state’s biggest private-sector employer is the Alabama Power Company, with about 5,000 workers.

Wikimedia Commons/US Army

Alaska — Fort Wainwright

The U.S. Army comes out on top again as the biggest employer in our northernmost state. Fort Wainwright, located in Fairbanks, was built in 1941 and employs a reported 6,100 people. When you think of Alaska, you probably think of seafood — after ice and the Iditarod, maybe — and that connects to the state’s second-biggest employer, UniSea, Inc. With 5,000 employees, this massive fishing operation is listed as the top private-sector company in North America’s “last frontier.”

Fairbanks, Alaska, United States 6-30-21: Welcome Sign at an Entrance onto the Fort Wainwright Military Base

Arizona — Banner Health

According to an exhaustive database compiled by The Arizona Republic in 2019, the hospital network run by Banner Health is easily the biggest employer in the state. Nearly 45,000 people were working for the company at that time, which helped it top nationwide powerhouses like Walmart, Kroger and McDonald’s, all of which also hire many Arizonans. The publication reported that the state’s top 100 employers account for about one in five payroll jobs in Arizona.

Photo: Banner Health

Arkansas — Walmart

The state of Arkansas is home to several massive companies that were first founded there as modest operations. From Tyson Foods to J.B. Hunt to Dillard’s, many Americans work for companies that came out of Arkansas. But the biggest of all those homegrown success stories is Walmart. The company has nearly 48,000 workers on its payroll in Arkansas, making it the top private workforce there.

Dec 8, 2019 Los Angeles / CA / USA – Walmart truck driving on the interstate, after the rain; wet asphalt visible

California — University of California

Tech giants like Alphabet (aka Google), Apple and Facebook are big employers across California but they are far from the state’s biggest workplaces. The various branches of the University of California separately occupy 10 spots on the list of the 25 biggest employers in the state, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. When you add up all the employees of the academic giant, you get more than 185,000 workers across the Golden State, easily surpassing Los Angeles Airport’s 45,000 workers as the state’s biggest single-company total.

AP Photo/Ben Margot
Students walk past Sather Gate on Thursday, May 10, 2018, on the University of California at Berkeley campus in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Colorado — Denver International Airport

Major transportation hubs are some of the biggest single-location employers in the nation and Colorado’s Denver International Airport is no different. Roughly 35,000 people work at DIA, according to the airport, which puts it ahead of other major Colorado job creators like Lockheed Martin and HealthOne by a wide margin. The 53 square miles covered by DIA’s property makes the airport larger than the cities of San Francisco, Boston and Miami.

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Travelers make their way through the north security checkpoint at Denver International Airport Friday, July 2, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Connecticut — Yale New Haven Health System

Hospital systems are among the biggest employers in the United States and more Connecticut residents are employed by Yale New Haven Health System than any other business. More than 22,000 people work for the hospital network, which paces it ahead of other major companies based there, like Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Praxair and ESPN. What’s more, a 2016 Forbes report named Yale New Haven Health as the large employer (at least 5,000 workers) where employees were happiest in Connecticut as well.

Photo: Yale-New Haven Heath

Delaware — ChristianaCare

The chemical giant, DuPont, was the largest employer in Delaware for a long time but lost that title in the past few years after downsizing. MBNA was another titan in the state that cut its numbers severely after it was bought out by Bank of America. Meanwhile, ChristianaCare, a hospital system, picked up the slack and maintains a state-leading 12,000 workers across Delaware.

Photo: Christiana Care Health Systems
Helen H.Graham Cancer and Research Center/ Christiana Care Health Systems/ Newark DE 5-11-2014
Credit Photograph by Eric Crossan

Florida — Walmart

It probably won’t surprise you to read that Walt Disney World is reportedly the biggest single-site employer in the United States, with more than 77,000 people clocking in at the Central Florida resort every day. But it probably would surprise you to know The House of Mouse isn’t the state’s biggest employer overall. That honor belongs to Walmart, which employs more than 114,000 people across the Sunshine State at an average hourly wage of $15.23, which is well below the state’s overall median hourly wage of $18.07.

Photo Courtesy: Walmart

Georgia — Emory University

Almost 30,000 people in Georgia currently work for Delta Airlines, making it the biggest private-sector employer in the entire state. Meanwhile, Emory University is the biggest employer overall that isn’t the state government, with more than 37,000 employees on its payroll across Georgia. Emory’s impact on the economy of the Atlanta region alone is remarkable, between the jobs it creates and the thousands of students it houses each year.

Wikimedia Commons

Hawaii — The Queen’s Health Systems

As you’d likely expect, the single biggest industry across Hawaii is tourism, but one hospital network is its biggest job creator. The Queen’s Health Systems has more than 7,300 people on its payroll, which might sound like a tiny number compared to others on this list, but is sizable for a state of fewer than 1.5 million citizens. All those surfing injuries aren’t going to take care of themselves, are they?

AP Photo/Marina Riker
This Wednesday, June 1, 2016, photo shows The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu. Susan Callahan’s son Aron was treated at this hospital, which is one of two psychiatric facilities for teens in the state. Often, the state Health Department ends up sending severely mentally ill children and teens to the mainland for treatment, away from the support of friends and family. (AP Photo/Marina Riker)

Idaho — St. Luke’s Health System

Healthcare reigns supreme in yet another state. While agriculture and manufacturing have major hiring figures across Idaho, St. Luke’s Health System is the state’s single biggest employer. More than 14,000 people in the Gem State work for the hospital network, according to the Idaho Department of Labor, pacing it ahead of Walmart, Micron Technology and competitor Saint Alphonsus Health System.

Wikimedia Commons

Illinois — Walmart

According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the industry of healthcare and social assistance employs the most people in the state, with more than 800,000 people working in that sector as of 2021. Sears was the biggest single employer in Illinois for a long time but long ago lost that mantle, making way for Walmart to hold the spot today. According to the retail giant, more than 56,000 Walmart associates are employed across Illinois, making it the single biggest employer that we could find in our research.


Indiana — Walmart

Yet another Midwestern state that is dominated by Walmart, in terms of its employment figures, is Indiana. More than 44,000 Hoosiers call Walmart their workplace, with 127 stores under the company’s umbrella being operated there as of July 2021. Other major employers include Eli Lilly and Tyson Foods but Walmart reportedly employs more people than any of them.


Iowa — Hy-Vee

It’s somewhat refreshing that Iowa’s biggest employer is a regional supermarket chain that was born in the Hawkeye State. While the University of Iowa claims itself to be the state’s biggest employer, with 14,000 workers, our own math and research find that Hy-Vee should actually hold that title because of the sheer footprint it has across Iowa. Between its corporate headquarters, two distribution centers, tech office and the more than 150 stores we counted across the state, we estimate that roughly 50,000 Iowans work for Hy-Vee in some capacity — and that’s a conservative number.

AP Photo/Nati Harnik

Kansas — Fort Riley

The agriculture industry accounts for a major chunk of the Kansas economy and has the biggest workforce in the state, but the U.S. Army’s base at Fort Riley employs more people than any other entity. More than 20,000 people work at Fort Riley, including service members and civilians. Spirit Aerosystems, which is based in Wichita, is the biggest private-sector employer in Kansas, with 12,000 workers expected to be on its payroll by 2024.


Kentucky — UPS

The commonwealth of Kentucky has a very tight race for the title of its biggest employer. While Walmart technically has about 1,000 more overall employees in Kentucky than UPS, its number includes workers at Sam’s Club stores, which is why we’re giving the nod to the shipping giant. UPS and its 29,000 workers across the Bluegrass State make up an immense workforce that includes 12,000 in Louisville alone.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
A United Parcel Service driver stops at a traffic light inside a UPS delivery van Friday, April 24, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Louisiana — Walmart

While state government accounts for a reported 57,000 jobs in Louisiana, we aren’t including them so the honor of the biggest workforce there falls to Walmart. The big-box retailer counts nearly 36,000 workers across Louisiana between its flagship and Sam’s Club locations. Other top jobs creators in the state include Willis-Knighton Medical Center and Mistras Group.

Photo: Walmart

Maine — MaineHealth

Hannaford Bros. supermarkets and Walmart combine to employ about 16,000 people across Maine but that’s still fewer than the number employed by MaineHealth. The hospital network has at least 18,000 employees, according to the Maine Department of Labor, giving it the biggest workforce in the state. It shouldn’t surprise you when you realize that more than 700 hospitals, doctor’s offices, labs and assisted-living communities fall under the MaineHealth banner.

AP Photo/David Sharp

Maryland — Fort George G. Meade

While the renowned network of hospitals and institutions under the Johns Hopkins banner employs an impressive 30,000 people across Maryland, the military is the state’s biggest employer: specifically, Fort George G. Meade, which is one of the Army’s biggest bases, period. Located between Baltimore and Washington, Fort Meade has more than 56,000 employees on base, including civilians and service members.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
FILE – In this June 6, 2013 file photo, the sign outside the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md. The Justice Department says a former National Security Agency’s theft of top secret information was “breathtaking” in its scope. Federal prosecutors revealed new details Thursday about their case against Harold Martin, a Maryland man arrested in August on charges of stealing classified information. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Massachusetts — Mass General Brigham

World-renowned institutions like Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts rank among the biggest employers in the commonwealth but they can’t match its healthcare behemoth. Mass General Brigham recently took a new name in 2019 after previously being known as Partners Healthcare. More than 58,000 people in Massachusetts work at Mass General Brigham, which is a medical network like some other top employers on this list.

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
The main entrance of Massachusetts General Hospital is seen, Monday, May 16, 2016, in Boston, after a news conference announcing the first penis transplant in the United States. Cancer patient Thomas Manning, of Halifax, Mass., received a transplanted penis in a 15-hour procedure last week. The organ was transplanted from a deceased donor. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Michigan — General Motors

Automotive production still rules in Michigan — for now, at least. If you combine the employees from the University of Michigan and its related Michigan Medicine healthcare banner (roughly 58,000 people total), that institution would technically be the biggest employer in Michigan, but that seems like cheating. Instead, we’re spotlighting General Motors as having the state’s single largest workforce, since nearly 47,000 people work for the automaker there.

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
A Chevrolet Sonic is assembled at the Orion Assembly in Orion Township, Mich., Monday, June 22, 2015. General Motors North America Vice President of Manufacturing and Labor Relations Cathy Clegg announced GM’s plans to invest $245 million and add 300 jobs at its Orion Assembly plant to support launching a new vehicle program at the plant. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Minnesota — Mayo Clinic

The mighty, Minnesota-based Target Corporation employs a reported 31,000 people across the state but it’s not the biggest employer there. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, with its 28 Mayo Clinic Health System locations spread across the state, is the biggest employer in Minnesota. More than 47,000 people reportedly get their paycheck from Mayo Clinic, making it quite a formidable workplace.

AP Photo/Jim Mone
The Mayo Clinic Hospital, Methodist Campus, center, is pictured Tuesday, July 2, 2019, in Rochester, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Mississippi — Ingalls Shipbuilding

An innovative powerhouse, Ingalls Shipbuilding is one of the longest-standing large private employers on this list. The company had 11,500 workers in Mississippi as of 2021, making it the biggest employer in the state. Ingalls has apparently held that title since 1939, which is remarkable, and it looks like the grip won’t be loosening anytime soon. The company recently announced it was looking to add 3,000 more employees to its payroll.


Missouri — Walmart

Companies like Boeing and Enterprise Holdings each employ tens of thousands of people across Missouri but neither can touch Walmart’s foothold there. The retail giant counts nearly 44,000 residents of Missouri among its workforce, making it the single biggest employer in the state. Some reports cite the medical giant BJC Healthcare as Missouri’s biggest employer but with a reported 30,000 workers there, that’s simply not the case.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
This is the entrance to a Walmart in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Montana — Billings Clinic

Population-wise, Montana is one of the smallest states in the nation and that’s why the 10,000-plus people reportedly employed by the Billings Clinic is a massive figure there. In addition to being the state’s biggest employer, it’s also Montana’s top healthcare supplier. The system also operates in Wyoming but has its biggest presence in Big Sky Country.

Male nurse pushing stretcher gurney bed in hospital corridor with doctors & senior female patient

Nebraska — University of Nebraska

Omaha’s Offutt Air Force Base is a massive workplace that has 8,000 employees but that’s only half of the staff employed by the University of Nebraska. That institution, which is comprised of four universities across the state, counts 16,000 workers among its staff. What’s more, the University of Nebraska has been ranked by Forbes as one of the best places to work in the entire state, based on a survey of its workers.

AP Photo/Nati Harnik
The campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Lincoln, Neb., Tuesday, July 21, 2020. University of Nebraska President Ted Carter and Neb. Gov. Pete Ricketts announced on Tuesday their plans for resuming in-person classes in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Nevada — MGM Resorts

When you think of Nevada, your mind has to imagine the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip, so this fact probably doesn’t stun you. MGM Resorts operates 10 properties in Las Vegas, including nine casinos, making it a monster in the gaming industry. The company reportedly counts 42,000 workers among its staff in Nevada, giving it the state’s biggest workforce. For comparison’s sake, the Nevada state government “only” employs 25,000 people.

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

New Hampshire — Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health

In a state of just over 1.3 million citizens, a reported workforce of 8,000 people is a sizable one. While Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health also has a major presence across Vermont, its biggest footprint is in New Hampshire. The system operates a number of hospitals across the state, as well as 24 smaller clinics. Its website boasts that it is the No. 1-rated hospital in New Hampshire, as well as the biggest private employer there.

AP Photo/Toby Talbot

New Jersey — Amazon

For a long time, the grocery giant ShopRite was the biggest employer in the Garden State, but it recently lost that mantle to Amazon. The retail giant took that title after bringing its presence to more than 40,000 employees across New Jersey in 2020. An Amazon spokesperson told that the company has invested $14.5 billion into New Jersey’s economy since 2010.

AP Photo/Steven Senne

New Mexico — Presbyterian Healthcare Services

In case you hadn’t noticed, medicine is serious business in the U.S. Further proof of this is New Mexico’s Presbyterian Healthcare Services, which employs more people than any other private entity across the state. The company counts more than 11,000 people among its staff in New Mexico. Nine hospitals across the state are included in Presbyterian’s footprint.

AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan

New York — Northwell Health

While New York is home to arguably the most bustling arts and culture scene in the world, the state’s single biggest employer is just as typical as it is in many states: a hospital system. Northwell Health says it has more than 76,000 employees working across its network of more than 800 care facilities in New York. While the healthcare giant has the title for now, it’s been estimated that Amazon could become the state’s biggest employer by 2034, as it seeks to add tens of thousands of new jobs there by then.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

North Carolina — University of North Carolina System

When outsiders think of North Carolina, basketball at the University of North Carolina probably comes to mind first. That institution and the wide-ranging University of North Carolina System that it’s a part of have a whopping 48,000 employees across the state, making it the biggest staffer behind state government. A total of 17 institutions are included in the system.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

North Dakota — Sanford Health

It’s unique for a company not named Walmart to occupy multiple spots on this list and that’s what Sanford Health can claim. The hospital network stretches across four states but has its biggest presence across North Dakota and South Dakota, where it is the biggest employer in each. In North Dakota, it’s been reported that Sanford Health employs more than 12,000 people.

AP Photo/Dave Kolpack
Dr. Avish Nagpal, an infectious disease specialist who has been treating COVID-19 patients at Sanford Health in Fargo, N.D., receives the first shot of the coronavirus vaccine given in North Dakota on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. The hospital was the first to receive the vaccine in the state and started giving shots to frontline workers in COVID units, intensive care units and emergency departments. North Dakota has been among the worst states in the nation for virus outbreaks. (AP Photo/Dave Kolpack)

Ohio — The Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Kroger, The Ohio State University and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base each have an immense workforce in the Buckeye State but the state’s top-rated healthcare giant surpasses them all. The Cleveland Clinic Foundation has nearly 51,000 workers on the payroll, up sharply from the 37,800 employees it reported having in 2009. The system’s flagship location in the heart of Cleveland celebrated its 100th year in business in 2021.

Photo: Cleveland Clinic

Oklahoma — Walmart

The United States government is actually the single-biggest employer across Oklahoma but Walmart gets the credit when nebulous government entities aren’t included. The retailer cuts checks for more than 33,000 people across the state, which isn’t far from the 37,000 employed by the federal government there. Walmart operates 134 stores in the state, 81 of which are supercenters.

Photo: Walmart

Oregon — Intel

Technology rules the workforce in Oregon, as Intel has had the title of the state’s largest employer for at least six years. The company says it has about 17,000 employees in Oregon, ranking it ahead of other major jobs creators like Providence Health System, Fred Meyers Stores and Nike. The tech giant operates six campuses in the state and has been operating there since 1974.

Hillsboro, Oregon USA – October 18 2018: An Intel logo at a corner of JF3 building of Jones Farm campus

Pennsylvania — University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Healthcare comes out on top yet again, this time in the Keystone State. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (aka UPMC) has an immense presence across Pennsylvania, operating 40 hospitals and more than 800 clinics. The company employs a reported 92,000 people across the state, including a whopping 5,000 doctors.


Rhode Island — Lifespan

With just over 1 million citizens between its relatively tight borders, the fact that Rhode Island’s biggest employer has 16,000 workers there is pretty substantial. Lifespan has been operating in Rhode Island since 1994 and runs six hospitals, 40 labs and more than 100 clinics around the state. The military is another major hirer in the coastal state, with Naval Station Newport counting roughly 10,000 workers among its staff.

Wikimedia Commons
Rhode Island Hospital Zecchino Pavilion

South Carolina — Walmart

South Carolina has some serious employers in BMW, Boeing and Joint Base Charleston, but Walmart tops them all. The company employs more than 34,000 people across the state, which is about as much as those other three giants combined. There are 122 Walmart stores in South Carolina, including 83 supercenters, according to the company.


South Dakota — Sanford Health

As mentioned previously, the Sanford Health system is the biggest employer in both North Dakota and South Dakota. The network’s biggest presence is in South Dakota, with its headquarters located in Sioux Falls. It’s unclear exactly how many employees Sanford has in South Dakota alone but the company has an estimated 30,000 workers total and it has been widely reported to be the state’s biggest employer.

Sanford Health Main Campus, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA: 3-2021: Children’s Hospital Castle of Care

Tennessee — Walmart

Yes, Walmart rules the workforce in yet another state. Nissan, Shoney’s and Vanderbilt University and its associated hospital are counted among the biggest employers in the state but none can match the big-box store’s staff in Tennessee. According to Walmart, it employs nearly 43,000 people in the state and operates 150 stores within its borders.

Photo: Walmart

Texas — H-E-B

Texas is yet another state where a retailer has the biggest payroll of all. The San Antonio-based supermarket chain, H-E-B, counts more than 90,000 Texans among its workforce, reportedly making it the biggest private employer in the Lone Star State. The chain has more than 300 stores in the state, giving it an immense presence there.

Photo: H-E-B

Utah — Intermountain Healthcare

The state of Utah has a few large employers ranked in a virtual tie at the top but Intermountain Healthcare just wins the race. The hospital system has more than 20,000 employees, which ranks it just ahead of the Utah state government and the University of Utah. Interestingly, Intermountain was in talks to merge with another major employer on this list, Sanford Health, until the deal was called off early in 2021.

Salt Lake City, UT / USA – November 6, 2020: Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital

Vermont — The University of Vermont Health Network

Frankly, we were kind of disappointed to find out that Ben & Jerry’s isn’t the biggest employer in Vermont but what can you do? The fact is that The University of Vermont Health Network employs 8,800 people, edging out semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries as the state’s biggest staffer. The network is anchored by the flagship UVM Medical Center in Burlington, which staffs 1,700 nurses and 600 doctors.

Photo: UVM Health Network

Virginia — Walmart

Virginia sees about 46,000 of its citizens employed by the combined powers of Huntington Ingalls Industries and Sentara Healthcare but that figure barely surpasses the number employed by Walmart. The retailer has an impressive 45,727 workers across Virginia, where it operates 149 stores. That figure easily makes the company the biggest staffer in the entire commonwealth.

Photo: Walmart

Washington — Amazon

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a shift at the top of Washington state’s employment rankings. Boeing was the biggest employer in the state until the pandemic hindered the company’s business while doing the opposite for Amazon’s. As a result, the online retailer, which was born in Washington, became the state’s top dog. Amazon counts more than 80,000 employees among its workforce in Washington.


West Virginia — WVU Medicine

For nearly two decades, Walmart ruled West Virginia as the biggest employer but it was unseated in 2016 by a healthcare titan. WVU Medicine has more than 15,000 employees within its network in the state. Other top employers across the state include Kroger, Mylan Pharmaceuticals and Lowe’s.

Morgantown, WV – 21 January 2021: WVU Medicine covid-19 vaccination center in old mall in Morgantown, West Virginia

Wisconsin — Advocate Aurora Health

Another health system, this one based in Milwaukee, tops another state’s list of the biggest employers. Wisconsin’s Advocate Aurora Health operates 15 hospitals and more than 150 clinics across the state and into northern Illinois. All that care requires 75,000 employees to make up its substantial payroll. It’s unclear how many of them work solely in Wisconsin but the company has widely been reported as the state’s biggest private employer.

Photo: Advocate Aurora Health

Wyoming — Walmart

With just 14 stores across the state, Walmart’s presence in Wyoming is nowhere near what it is in other parts of the U.S. Still, the retailer is counted as the biggest private employer there, despite the fact that it has fewer than 5,000 workers. Wyoming’s F.E. Warren Air Force Base employs more than 4,000 people at a single site but it’s still not quite enough to catch up with Walmart’s payroll in the state.

Photo: Walmart

About the Author

Clint Davis

When he's not writing or spending time with his son and wife, Clint is probably watching sports, an old movie or adding to his VHS collection. A lifelong Ohioan, he's based in Columbus, and has two big dogs and a cat that's as soft as cotton. More.

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