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

Ranking The Highest-Grossing Industry In Every US State

Trista February 13, 2020

Each state in America is different and contributes to the wealth of the nation in its own way. While some states have similar industries, there are enough differences to suggest our country benefits from each state’s contribution.

The diversity of the states is precisely what makes America so great – we showcase all of our skills instead of relying on one exceptionally profitable industry. Since each state has its own resources shaped by the land they occupy, it is no wonder we prosper so well at multiple leading industries.

To give you a better idea, we will explore some of the largest industries by state. Check out part 1 right here:

Sunset in Malibu, California. Pixabay.


The largest industry is computers and electronics manufacturing. This industry is one of the fastest-growing and most competitive. California is currently home to many large computer and electronics companies.

California has the largest GDP from any industry among the 50 states, with computers and electronics manufacturing grossing $93 billion a year. Roughly 265,000 work for this leading industry. This could, in part, be due to the competitive nature of this field of work. Computers and electronics manufacturing is not the only profitable industry the State can boast: farming is another huge facet to California’s livelihood, claiming a GDP of almost $19 billion. Motion pictures are also a big seller in the State, reaching a GDP of $50 billion annually.

Silicon Valley is located in California and is the United State’s epicenter for innovative technology companies. Many leading industries are housed here, including software, social media, lasers, fiber optics, robotics, and medical instruments.

Abraham Lincoln lived in Indiana from the age of 7 until around 21. Pixabay.


Some people will think of pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing because this state’s largest industry is chemical product manufacturing. This happened over the last several years as Indiana now lays claim to some of the biggest drug manufacturing companies in the United States, such as Eli Lilly, which is known as the largest manufacturer – or at least one of the few.

The economic output the state gives the GDP on average on an annual basis is about 7%. Indiana brings in $21.3 billion and holds a workforce of nearly 31,000 people. On top of all this, the state’s largest industry continues to grow. And with the increase in pharmaceuticals, it doesn’t look like it will hit a decline any time soon.

Ambulatory health care services are the largest industry in several states, including Kansas. Pixabay.


Ambulatory health care services are the state’s most significant industry. Kansas’ ambulatory health care service brings about $4.8 billion to the state’s economy. This equals a 3.5% GDP output and gives over 110,000 people jobs throughout the state.

People are often surprised to see that the largest industry in Kansas is ambulatory health care. The state is mostly known for its agricultural industry and wheat fields. But this is not the state’s largest industry. In 2015, the agriculture industry brought in $3.5 billion. The truth is that ambulatory health care services have grown incredibly over the past couple of decades and show no sign of slowing down. In fact, in 2015, the industry grew 6.3% from the previous year.

When you look at how close the numbers are between the agriculture industry and ambulatory health care services, agriculture may one day surpass the leading sector again.

Maine is known for its lighthouses and beautiful scenery. Pixabay.


One of the biggest food resources from Maine is lobster. In fact, 90% or 40 million pounds of the nation’s lobster comes from Maine. But, this doesn’t have anything to do with the state’s primary industry. That is hospitals, nursing, and residential care facilities.

Part of the reason for the largest industry is Maine’s median age is higher than most states. The average age in the majority of states is about 38 years old. For Maine, the average age is 45 years old. While this is usually before any severe health crisis affects a person, it does contribute to Maine’s $3.4 billion hospitals, nursing, and residential care facilities industry.

This industry employs almost 170,000 people, which is a high number for a state that is rather small on the radar. On top of this, the economic output is 6.6%. That number makes Maine pretty dependent on its largest industry. About 18.8% of the state’s population is 65 years or older, which is a significant reason for the growth in this industry.

Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Pixabay.


Colorado’s leading enterprise is oil and gas extraction. The industry includes exploring and producing petroleum and natural gas from wells. This is how we generate our own supply of gasoline for automobiles. There is a downside to this leading industry, however. The process creates wastewater from the water taken from the natural wells where the products are extracted from. It also comes from the chemicals used in the process of exploration, well drilling, and production of oil and gas.

It does well with a GDP of $13 billion annually. Though the payout is large, the industry only has 10,000 employees in this particular sector of employment. While the workforce may be small, the industry itself has been growing steadily. It grew almost 25% between 2016 and 2017 and 90% from five years earlier. From this trend, it can only be assumed that the industry will continue to grow and make money for the State.

Along with gas and oil, Colorado also has a significant stake in extracting coal from federal lands. They not only gain revenue from oil, gas, and coal; they also make a profit off of geothermal, carbon dioxide, helium, and sodium. In 2016 alone, the State generated a revenue of $500,000,000 from all of its various natural resources. All of this revenue went to State and local funds. In 2018, the State generated $230,000,000 from its natural resources.

Devil’s Den State Park in Arkansas. Pixabay.


Arkansas is home to one of the most extensive ambulatory health care services in the United States. While Arkansas is obviously not the only one on the list with ambulatory health as its largest industry, it did generate $4.3 billion in 2015. Like the other states that hold health care as its largest industry, Arkansas continues to grow and seems to bring in more money every year.

Even though Arkansas accounts for 4.0% of state GDP, it does not depend on the industry as much as other states. It holds a workforce of over 102,000 people, with most of them working in doctor offices and as dentists.

Insurance can help you in times of emergency, as long as you set up a policy. Pixabay.


Iowa’s capital, Des Moines, has over 80 insurance agencies. This is just one city and not the whole state.

Because there are so many busy people, new jobs are found every day; the economic output is at 9.1%. While you might not think this is a huge number when you realize that the industry increased over 13% within a few years and it is still growing. In 2015, the state contributed $14.3 billion in the insurance industry, which is a lot of money for a small state’s economy.

Dauphin Island in Alabama, the place to go fishing. Pixabay.


The largest industry in Alabama is ambulatory health care services, which brought in about $8 billion in 2015. The amount hasn’t changed over the last few years as health care services continue to spike in the state. In fact, ambulatory health care services help Alabama more than any other state.

Close to 181,000 people work in the health care service, and new jobs continue to develop as the service grows in the state. Most patients who use ambulatory health care focus on outpatient care, such as physical therapy.

With so many services, locations, and patients, it’s fantastic that Alabama keeps its facilities up to date. It continues to provide statistical analysis to give everyone the best care. One organization to thank for this is the Alabama Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers, which focuses on not only providing the best service, increasing services but also recording statistics and other information.

John Work Garrett Library, located in Baltimore, Maryland. Pixabay.


Maryland’s largest industry is ambulatory health care services, and this includes dentistry.

In 2015, Maryland grossed $12.4 billion in ambulatory health care. Its GDP percentage reached 3.8, and the industry has over 264,000 employees. Maryland has a high percentage of elderly residents, but this is not the only reason for the state’s growing health care system. Another reason is because of the hospital and medical school. Some of the top doctors in the world went to John Hopkins University for their students. Many others ended up receiving a position at the hospital and staying there.

A lighthouse on Lake Michigan. Pixabay.


Michigan claims to have a leading sector in hospitals, nursing care facilities, and residential care facilities. Most people know what a hospital is, so further explanation is moot.

This industry alone accounts for $17.0 billion of the GDP for the state as of 2015. The workforce is (not) surprisingly large, employing roughly 910,000 employees to keep the industry running. What is surprising is that this industry grosses more money than the automobile industry. Two of the largest hospitals in the country are located in Michigan. These are Beaumont and Spectrum Health Butterworth. Each has the capacity to serve 1,000 patients at any given time. Over the past five years, the industry has continued to grow steadily.

One of the contributing factors to the growth of this industry is Michigan’s acceptance of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which has led to an increase in insurance holders in the State. And we all know how dependent people are on insurance for receiving medical care. Last year in 2019, the state saw a stagnation in insurance holders due to changes made to PPACA. If you have insurance, hospitals may provide you with both inpatient and outpatient services, as well as emergency care.

New York City skyline. Pixabay.

New York

With New York’s massive economy, the largest industry is Federal Reserve banks and credit services. This means that the state is home to many banks, and most of them are nationwide. For instance, Lower Manhattan is home to 12 Federal Reserve banks located throughout the United States.

For some people, the downside to this industry is that the state is heavily dependent on it. People worry about what will happen if we have another Great Depression as the United States had in the 1930s. However, other people are confident that we will never see another time like that because these Federal Reserve banks take all the precautions they can for this type of situation. Still, an $81.7 billion industry is one of the largest on this list.

The GDP output for New York’s most prominent industry comes in at a little over 6%. This all leaves the state with over 163,000 people working in Federal Reserve banks and credit services. Many people think is a rather small number in comparison to how many banks and how big they are in the state. However, New York seems to do fine with this number.

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.