Need a Job? Here Are the Biggest Employers Across America

See which employers are based in the biggest U.S. cities.

America has had its share of company towns over the years, with some of America’s biggest cities becoming ubiquitous with their biggest employers — Detroit as Motor City, to Pittsburgh as Steel City and Cincinnati once going by the unfortunate nickname of “Porkopolis.” Even today, the biggest employer in a city can play an important role in the lives of its inhabitants.

And, depending on which city you call home, you might be near a very different main employer, according to a new study by GOBankingRates. The largest employers in America’s biggest cities are a varied bunch, but some companies are even the home to the biggest payroll in multiple burgs.

Here’s a look at which companies are the biggest employers in each of the 50 largest cities in America:

50 Biggest Employers Across America
Ranking City State Company Number of Employees
1 New York New York JPMorgan Chase & Co 29,000
2 Los Angeles California Kaiser Permanente 36,468
3 Chicago Illinois JPMorgan Chase & Co 15,229
4 Houston Texas Walmart 37,000
5 Phoenix Arizona Walmart 34,090
6 Philadelphia Pennsylvania Comcast Corp. 14,531
7 San Antonio Texas H-E-B 22,000
8 San Diego California Qualcomm, Inc. 11,830
9 Dallas Texas Texas Instruments 10,961
10 San Jose California Cisco Systems Inc. 14,000
11 Austin Texas H-E-B 12,198
12 Jacksonville Florida Bank of America Merrill Lynch 8,000
13 Fort Worth Texas American Airlines 25,000
14 San Francisco California Wells Fargo 8,195
15 Columbus Ohio Kroger 22,821
16 Charlotte North Carolina Wells Fargo 24,100
17 Indianapolis Indiana Eli Lilly and Company 11,479
18 Seattle Washington Boeing Co. 81,919
19 Denver Colorado United Airlines, Inc. 5,777
20 Bakersfield California William Bolthouse Farms 1,802
21 El Paso Texas T&T Staffing 5,348
22 Boston Massachusetts State Street Bank & Trust 7,500
23 Nashville Tennessee Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) 10,180
24 Detroit Michigan Rock Ventures 16,617
25 Portland Oregon Intel 19,300
26 Oklahoma City Oklahoma Hobby Lobby Stores 5,100
27 Las Vegas Nevada Wynn Las Vegas, LLC 8,250
28 Memphis Tennessee FedEx Corp. 30,000
29 Louisville Kentucky UPS 22,354
30 Baltimore Maryland Exelon 2,950
31 Milwaukee Wisconsin GE Healthcare 6,000
32 Albuquerque New Mexico Sandia National Labs 10,500
33 Tucson Arizona Raytheon 9,600
34 St. Louis Missouri Wells Fargo 5,418
35 Sacramento California Kaiser Permanente 10,517
36 Wichita Kansas Spirit Airlines 10,800
37 Kansas City Missouri Cerner Corp. 12,890
38 Atlanta Georgia Delta Air Lines 5,348
39 Cincinnati Ohio Kroger 21,646
40 Miami Florida American Airlines 11,031
41 Raleigh North Carolina Duke Energy Progress 3,700
42 Anaheim California Disneyland Resort 31,000
43 Virginia Beach Virginia GEICO 2,700
44 Pittsburgh Pennsylvania PNC 11,432
45 Oakland California Kaiser Permanente 12,287
46 Minneapolis Minnesota Target 8,200
47 Tulsa Oklahoma Walmart 8,500
48 Arlington Texas General Motors 4,484
49 New Orleans Louisiana Ochsner Health System 16,771
50 Tampa Florida Publix Super Markets 7,420

Financial Industry, Retail Most Likely to Span Multiple Locations

As more people opt to do their investing and banking online, one area where the need for physical locations is declining steadily is finance. But you wouldn’t know that by looking at this study.

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Of the organizations that are the largest employers in more than one of America’s largest 50 cities, two are banks. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is the top employer in both New York and Chicago, and Wells Fargo has the most employees in San Francisco, Charlotte, N.C., and St. Louis.

The same is also true of retail stores, with Kroger employing the most people in two Ohio cities — Columbus and Cincinnati. And Walmart, the biggest private employer in America, has the largest payroll for Houston, Phoenix and Tulsa, Okla.

Healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente is the largest employer in more than one city in its home state of California.

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Check Out: Highest- and Lowest-Paying Entry-Level Jobs

Traditional Industries on the Decline?

It’s also notable that some of the famed connections between a specific city and an industry don’t appear to be linked in the same way anymore.

For example, the top employer in Detroit isn’t Ford, General Motors or Chrysler — it’s Dan Gilbert’s Rock Ventures. Pittsburgh’s largest employer isn’t a steel firm, but rather, the bank PNC. Milwaukee’s top employer isn’t a brewer — or even a dairy. It’s GE Healthcare. And sunny Los Angeles, home to Hollywood and the supposed center of the entertainment industry, is one of the three cities where Kaiser Permanente is putting the most people to work.

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So although those better-known industries might have helped define those cities in the public eye, it might be time for people to start updating their perceptions.

Click to keep reading about the best and worst cities to score your dream job.

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Methodology: GOBankingRates analyzed financial data for 50 of America’s largest cities in order to determine the largest private-sector, for-profit employer in each. Data was compiled from various sources, including individual city comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFR) and reports conducted by Crain’s.

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About the Author

Joel Anderson

Joel Anderson is a business and finance writer with over a decade of experience writing about the wide world of finance. Based in Los Angeles, he specializes in writing about the financial markets, stocks, macroeconomic concepts and focuses on helping make complex financial concepts digestible for the retail investor.

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