Home Economics Ranking The Highest-Grossing Industry In Every US State

Ranking The Highest-Grossing Industry In Every US State

Trista February 13, 2020
Gateway Arch of St. Louis, Missouri. Pixabay.


Hospitals, nursing, and residential care facilities are the largest industry for the state of Missouri. Part of this reason is because of the aging baby boomers who live in the state. While no one directly knows why so many stayed and settled in the state, people do know that with their aging population, more hospitals and residential facilities are necessary.

As the state is doing what it can to prepare for the aging population, the GDP contribution in this industry during 2015 reached over $10 billion. This is one of the most massive amounts for any state, yet the GDP output percentage is rather low as it sits at 4%. Even so, the number of people employed in this industry is close to 600,000 and continues to grow.

The state claims home to one of the largest hospitals in the country, Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. This hospital has over 1,400 beds, excellent care, and some of the best doctors in the nation.

Louisiana is home to New Orleans and some of the biggest party and celebration spots in the United States. Pixabay.


Louisiana’s leading industry comes from petroleum and coal products manufacturing. This industry includes the exploration, extraction, refining, transportation, and marketing of petroleum products. Petroleum is found in the ground in pockets called reservoirs. The substance naturally seeps out of its reservoir towards the Earth’s surface. Other uses for petroleum include transportation fuels, heating, electricity, and road oil. Coal is also useful in many ways, including being used as an energy source, particularly in generating electricity.

Yet another large industry, Louisiana’s petroleum and coal fields, earn a yearly GDP of around $16 billion. Again, we do not see that many people employed by these companies, with a combined total of 12,000 workers between both petroleum and coal. Louisiana has a staggering 18 oil refineries that are capable of producing 3.3 million barrels of crude oil daily. Although other states have lost money due to falling oil prices, Louisiana seems to have remained untouched by this global trend. In 2015 alone, the industry expanded by 12%.

In 2008 the State was considered the leader in crude oil production. The only other state in the nation that produces more oil than Louisiana is Texas. Approximately three-fourths of their oil products are shipped out to other states for consumption. Switching to coal: all of Louisiana’s coal is considered to be lignite, which is often referred to as brown coal. Lignite is considered to be one of the lowest ranking forms of coal, and consequently, it has a low heat content.

Delaware scenery, sunset at the Delaware River. Pixabay.


Another large industry you’ll often find on this list is insurance. Delaware is proudly one of the biggest insurance industries in the United States. In fact, this state holds the title for the largest contributor to the GDP, bringing in $8.5 billion. Many people believe this number will continue to grow, which is different from other states who hold insurance as their largest industry.

Every year, more people are hired to work in insurance as companies are always working on creating new jobs. A few years ago, over 6,000 people worked as insurance agents, and now this number is closer to 7,000. This growth offers many opportunities for people who currently work in the business as they are able to learn, grown, and receive promotions and to people who are just starting in the insurance industry.

To give you an idea of how much the insurance business is growing in Delaware, in 2011, the state only contributed $6.7 billion, which is almost $2 billion less than in 2016. This means that over five years, growth reached 25%.

Oil refinery pumps are an essential process for North Dakota’s largest industry. Pixabay.

North Dakota

The largest industry in North Dakota is oil and gas extraction.

To the locals, North Dakota is known as a vast oil field. Several oil wells help boost the state’s economy. In fact, people just discovered a few oil wells several years ago, which helped increase the industry. In 2015, the oil and gas extraction industry contributed $3.8 billion, which led to about 7.5% of GDP output. This means that North Dakota is very dependent on this industry, which locals of the state understand.

Unfortunately, even with the newly discovered oil, the state couldn’t continue to pay all the employees that worked in the industry and went through a large cutback a few years ago. With this said, almost 3,000 people continue to work in the industry to keep the state’s economy afloat.

Minnesota is known as the state with 10,000 lakes. Pixabay.


Minnesota’s largest industry is ambulatory health care services. Minnesota recently saw growth in ambulatory health care over the last several years. In fact, 2015 was one of the most significant boosts for the state. During this year, Minnesota’s largest industry grossed nearly $13 billion. Its workforce includes a little over 280,000 people, and the GDP economic output reached 4.4%. While this might seem like a small number, the percentage grew from 2014 to 2015 by 6.3%. Before that, the state only saw about a 1% increase for several years.

One reason Minnesota’s ambulatory services continue to grow is that its population is getting older. More people are starting to move and retire to the state because of its many benefits for the elderly. Furthermore, other families are moving in because of the growing economy, work, and safety. Even with the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota’s crime rate is low compared to many states.

The famous Ohio Theatre in Columbus. Pixabay.


The largest industry in Ohio is hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities. Like most states that have hospitals and nursing homes as their highest industry, Ohio’s population is reaching the age where they need these services more. This became apparent in 2015 when the GDP contribution reached $22.2 billion, which is 4.1% of the economic output. Along with these numbers, over 1 million people work in this industry, which is one of the highest workforce numbers on this list.

One reason Ohio’s largest industry is hospitals, nursing, and residential care facilities is because of the Cleveland Clinic, which is one of the largest hospitals in the country. The hospital has over 1,200 beds, an extensive research area, and some of the best doctors in the United States.

Nevada is best known for Las Vegas. Pixabay.


Accommodation, or simply tourism, is Nevada’s largest industry. And one of the most prominent aspects of tourism is the hotel business. Anyone who has been to Las Vegas can attest to how large this industry can be.

What is slightly surprising is how much this industry makes in a year: the GDP for accommodation is only $14 billion a year, which is quite smaller than other sectors we have examined so far. Though it may not make as much money as other industries across the country, it does employ a large number of residents, claiming 390,000 workers. An interesting fact about Nevada’s leading industry: it is one of only seven in the country that accounts for more than 10% of the State’s total GDP.

Las Vegas is the primary player in this industry due to the fact that tourism is vast in this city. People travel from all over the world to see the various performances that are unique to the area. Every year they see an increase in visitors: in 2015, approximately 42 million people visited the city, while in 2016, 43 million people traveled to town. While gambling remains a large part of this sector, the industry has expanded to include retail, entertainment, recreation, and dining. This one industry by itself generates 60% of the State’s tax revenues, which is no surprise considering Las Vegas alone has 150,000 hotel rooms to fill.

Computers and electronics manufacturing is the largest industry in Oregon. Pixabay.


Oregon follows a lot of other neighboring states when it comes to its largest industry – computers, and electronics manufacturing. Of course, this probably comes as no surprise to many people as it’s one of the most rapidly growing industries in the country.

Some people are surprised that Oregon follows its neighbor, the state of Washington, who has Amazon and Microsoft, depends just as much on the computer and electronics industry. This is because, while the companies are not as well-known, Oregon has its own electronics giants in the business.

Oregon tends to focus heavily on the economic output of the computer and electronics industry. In 2015, the GDP output reached a little over 17% and contributed $34.2 billion. The state employs over 37,000 people to work in the industry.

Florida is best known for Disney World in Orlando and the famous city of Miami. Pixabay.


It is probably no surprise to you that the largest industry in Florida is ambulatory health care services. Florida is known as a state where people go to retire.

It is common knowledge that the older you get, the more you need to see your doctor. Furthermore, it is not just a physician in the hospital that I am talking about. You also need to see the eye doctor, dentist, and so many other doctors more often to ensure that you are healthy, take care of any health problems, and continue to live your best life for as long as possible.

Because of the large elderly population, Florida contributes $39.3 billion to the GDP, and this has grown over the past several years. The state also employs over 908,000 people in the healthcare industry, as nearly 20% of Florida’s residents are 65 years and older.

The small state of Rhode Island heavily depends on hospitals, nursing, and residential facilities. Pixabay.

Rhode Island

The largest industry in Rhode Island is hospitals, nursing, and residential facilities.

With a state that is so small, the economy is smaller in comparison to other states. Therefore, when you note that the hospitals, nursing, and residential facilities only contribute about $2.7 billion to the state’s GDP, you shouldn’t be too surprised. This industry hasn’t always been the state’s largest. In fact, the real estate industry is close behind, and many people feel it might one day surprise the current largest industry.

The state depends on its hospitals, nursing, and residential facilities as it brings the economic output to over 5%. The state employs nearly 125,000 people in its various hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other residential facilities. For such a small state, this employment number is a surprising factor.

Oil and gas extraction is the largest industry in Oklahoma. Pixabay.


This state’s largest industry, which is oil and gas extraction. For a state that only employs a little under 24,000 people to work in their largest industry, the amount of money oil and gas extraction brought in during 2015 reached $28 billion. While the workforce seems a bit small, this type of industry doesn’t need many hands on deck.

It is vital for the state always to safeguard its employees in this industry are cared for because the state depends on the sector incredibly. In 2015, the economic output reached 15.6%, which is one of the highest percentages of any state on this list. Even though gas prices declined, though they are also slowly on the rise, Oklahoma is in the top five states in the United States when it comes to its largest industry. The state produces so much oil that they are higher than many other states on this list – even if they are in the same industry.

A winter mill in Wisconsin. Pixabay.


Wisconsin makes its claim to fame through insurance. Back in 2015, the insurance industry made Wisconsin about $14 billion. With so much income, you would think that the sector is full of workers, but this is not the case: only 62,000 workers are employed in insurance positions. What may surprise you is that their second-leading industry is real estate. Like Michigan, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has dramatically increased the revenue of their top money-making sector, in this case, insurance and not health care. Insurance coverage has risen significantly across the state, which has helped its economy boom within the last few years or so.

The insurance industry not only creates revenue through premiums and settlement claims but also by employing licensed professionals, paying taxes, and owning municipal bonds. Let’s look at some comparative numbers: in 2017, the insurance industry claimed to hire 82,000 workers as compared to 62,000 in 2015. Insurance companies were also responsible for $6.3 million in compensation back in 2017. Go back one more year to 2016, where Wisconsin asserted that the insurance sector generated $18.1 billion for the GSP or gross state product.

The famous Mississippi River as the sun goes down. Pixabay.


Like so many other states on this list, ambulatory health care is the state’s largest industry. Part of this is because it’s one of the biggest in nearly every state. Even for the states that have a different sector as its winning bid, ambulatory health care services are still high on the list.

One reason why this service is so abundant in Mississippi is that every sixth resident is on disability services. They receive assistance from the state in many ways, such as financial and outpatient rehabilitation. It is no secret that this is one of the highest shares of any state, but when you receive the care that Mississippi gives their residents, along with their a bit more relaxed guidelines, this doesn’t surprise you. While some people will see this as a note for Mississippi to stiffen their guidelines, the state sees it as one of the best ways to boost their economy.

Currently, the ambulatory health care system brings in about $4 million and employs over 94,000 people. When you look at the percentage of GDP output, Mississippi sits at 4.2%. These numbers continue to increase and do not show any signs of going down in the next few years. In fact, the state does whatever it can to give its best care to the residents.

Disability services bring a lot of money to the state of South Carolina. Pixabay.

South Carolina

Ambulatory health care service is the largest industry for the state of South Carolina. Like other states who depend on this healthcare, South Carolina saw extensive growth over the last several years. Part of this is because of the increase with the disability services the state offers to thousands of its residents. The other part focuses on the aging population, with baby boomers increasing health care services needs across the state.

With a 7.5% expanded growth during 2015 alone, the contribution of the ambulatory health care services industry brought in $7.1 billion. The output reached 4% with employment in the industry, reaching over 167,000 people. Today, these numbers continue to grow as the ambulatory health care services industry continues to prove that it is number one in the state.

The total share of the 65 and up the population in the United States is a little over 14%. For South Carolina, the total population that is 65 and older is over 17%. With baby boomers reaching this age, the industry does not look like it will start to decline any time soon. In fact, the state is doing everything they can to make sure there are enough employees for everyone’s medical needs.

A lake scene in New Hampshire. Pixabay.

New Hampshire

Insurance is the biggest for the state of New Hampshire. At the same time, this industry is a bit different for New Hampshire than most other states. For one, it brings in a smaller amount of economic growth and security in comparison to many other states. While part of this is the state’s economic size, the other part is that the industry is merely growing at a slower rate.

In 2015, the insurance business contributed $3.6 billion, with the GDP output at 5.3%. With the percentage so high, it is proof that the state depends on its insurance industry to contribute heavily to the state’s economy. While the number of employees is only a little over 14,000, they receive one of the best salaries in the country. While most states pay an average of $81,000, New Hampshire pays closer to $87,000 a year.

Bank vaults are a famous sight in South Dakota as they are part of the largest industry. Pixabay.

South Dakota

Federal Reserve banks and credit services are the most significant industry in South Dakota because of the banking giant the state has. Not only does South Dakota lay claim to Capital One headquarters, but other offices have recently moved to this state, such as Wells Fargo and Citibank. Because of this, the 2015 contribution from the industry reached $4.1 billion. While this isn’t as large as other Federal Reserve banks and credit services industry states, for the size of South Dakota, it is impressive.

Another impressive number is that the Federal Reserve banks and credit services GDP output for 2015 reached nearly 10%, which proves that the state is heavily dependent on this industry. However, for so many large corporations, the number of employees in this industry is only a little under 17,000 people. But, as the Federal Reserve banks and credit services sector continues to grow, many believe that the number of employees will as well.

West Virginia landscape. Pixabay.

West Virginia

West Virginia’s claim to fame is mining, except for oil and gas. This particular industry is quite small compared to what we have seen before: West Virginia’s mining operations gross around $5 billion every year and only employs 17,000 individuals. While this may not seem like much, this single industry accounts for almost 8% of all GDP output. This means that 8% of the money the State makes in a year comes from mining alone.

Being the world’s fourth-largest energy-producing State, it is no wonder that mining produces so much wealth. One of the most significant natural resources that West Virginia extracts from the Earth is coal. You will not find a more massive coal producer east of the Mississippi River. It is not all good news for West Virginia’s economy; energy prices have fallen over the past few years, which has negatively impacted the growth and wealth of this industry.

In 2011, mining (except for oil and gas) produced a GDP of $8 billion; this is almost a 40% decrease in just four years. Coal production took a massive hit from 2008 to 2016, shifting from 166 million tons produced to a mere 85 million tons. Due to this, the State saw mine closures from border to border.

Port Arthur in Texas. Pixabay.


While most people see Texas as the “cowboy” state, many other people see Texas as one of the largest oil and gas extraction states in the United States. In 2015, the industry contributed $160.4 billion, which is one of the most substantial contributions on this list for any type of industry. With such a high input, the output GDP reached 10.7%, which shows a strong dependence on the oil and gas extraction distribution.

Unlike a few other states, the oil and gas extraction industry in Texas employs thousands of people. In fact, they nearly have 100,000 employees. Most people believe that the state will soon go over 100,000 employees because there is incredible demand in the field, even with the decline and slow increase in gas prices. This belief comes because Texas beat the last large slump of gas prices near the end of 2014. In 2015, the industry grew over 13% and added jobs instead of taking them away.

One of the main reasons the industry continues to climb in Texas, even when it is declining in other states, is because this state is the most abundant petroleum and natural gas-producing state in terms of GDP. Because of the tremendous need, Texas continues to stand on top and contribute over $150 billion annually.


“Interesting Stats About Ambulatory Health Care Services In Alabama.” Safegraph.

“Welcome to AAASC.” AAASC: Alabama Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers.

“Largest Industry in Each State.” Samuel Stebbins and Michael B. Sauter, Yahoo! Finance. August 2017.

“50 States Facts and Trivia.” 50 States.