Forbes’ Best Employers list always garners a lot of attention from the media and from savvy job seekers, as well it should. This year’s listing of the top 500 companies (with more than 1,000 employees) as rated by their employees contains well-known giants such as top-ranked Google.
But another important list – The Largest Employer in Each State – deserves attention as well. Non-profits as well as private and public employers (excluding military bases and federal and state government agencies, with the exception of state universities) were included in the research for this list.
The actual numbers of employees at the largest employer in each state may vary from 8,000+ workers (Hannaford Bros. in Maine) to 156,000 employees (Wal-Mart in Texas). In fact, Wal-Mart is the largest employer in 20 out of the 50 states. The bulk of the remaining 30 states’ top employers include universities and university systems as well as healthcare companies, with a smattering of other industries represented.
Here is a brief comparison of the top 10 Forbes Best Employers, their industries, headquarters location, and number of employees versus the largest employer in each state represented in the Forbes top 10:
Top 10 America’s Best Employers and Corresponding Largest Employer in Each State
Google – IT, Internet, Software & Services – California (47,756 employees)
Largest Employer in California: The University of California system (200,000 employees)
Costco Wholesale – Retail & Wholesale – Washington (184,000 employees)
Largest Employer in Washington: Boeing (80,241 employees)
Marathon Petroleum – Construction, Oil & Gas Operations, Mining & Chemicals – Ohio (29,865)
Largest Employer in Ohio: Wal-Mart (47,000 employees)
The Container Store – Retail & Wholesale – Texas (4,089)
Largest Employer in Texas: Wal-Mart (156,195 employees)
LL Bean – Manufacturing & Retail – Maine (9,000)
Largest Employer in Maine: Hannaford Bros. (8,000+ employees)
Baxter International, Inc. – Drugs & Biotechnology – Illinois (61,000)
Largest Employer in Illinois: Wal-Mart (51,137 employees)
BMW Group – Automotive – New Jersey (110,351)
Largest Employer in New Jersey: Wakefern Food Corporation (35,000 employees)
Shaw Industries – Engineering, Manufacturing – Georgia (22,500)
Largest Employer in Georgia: Wal-Mart (51,000 employees)
Wegmans Food Markets – Retail & Wholesale – New York (43,700)
Largest Employer in New York: The State University of New York (89,871 employees)
Harley-Davidson – Automotive – Wisconsin (6,400)
Largest Employer in Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin system (39,000 employees)
Note: The largest employers in each state are listed based on the actual number of people employed in each state, rather than the total employee roster of each organization regardless of where the employees are located.
For anyone involved in a proactive job search, these two lists contain important data for further consideration. Expanding your job-search research beyond private and publicly held companies to those in state and federal government (particularly state educational institutions) and non-profits could lead to your next career or job!