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:

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50 Biggest Employers Across America
RankingCityStateCompanyNumber of Employees
1New YorkNew YorkJPMorgan Chase & Co29,000
2Los AngelesCaliforniaKaiser Permanente36,468
3ChicagoIllinoisJPMorgan Chase & Co15,229
6PhiladelphiaPennsylvaniaComcast Corp.14,531
7San AntonioTexasH-E-B22,000
8San DiegoCaliforniaQualcomm, Inc.11,830
9DallasTexasTexas Instruments10,961
10San JoseCaliforniaCisco Systems Inc.14,000
12JacksonvilleFloridaBank of America Merrill Lynch8,000
13Fort WorthTexasAmerican Airlines25,000
14San FranciscoCaliforniaWells Fargo8,195
16CharlotteNorth CarolinaWells Fargo24,100
17IndianapolisIndianaEli Lilly and Company11,479
18SeattleWashingtonBoeing Co.81,919
19DenverColoradoUnited Airlines, Inc.5,777
20BakersfieldCaliforniaWilliam Bolthouse Farms1,802
21El PasoTexasT&T Staffing5,348
22BostonMassachusettsState Street Bank & Trust7,500
23NashvilleTennesseeHospital Corporation of America (HCA)10,180
24DetroitMichiganRock Ventures16,617
26Oklahoma CityOklahomaHobby Lobby Stores5,100
27Las VegasNevadaWynn Las Vegas, LLC8,250
28MemphisTennesseeFedEx Corp.30,000
31MilwaukeeWisconsinGE Healthcare6,000
32AlbuquerqueNew MexicoSandia National Labs10,500
34St. LouisMissouriWells Fargo5,418
35SacramentoCaliforniaKaiser Permanente10,517
36WichitaKansasSpirit Airlines10,800
37Kansas CityMissouriCerner Corp.12,890
38AtlantaGeorgiaDelta Air Lines5,348
40MiamiFloridaAmerican Airlines11,031
41RaleighNorth CarolinaDuke Energy Progress3,700
42AnaheimCaliforniaDisneyland Resort31,000
43Virginia BeachVirginiaGEICO2,700
45OaklandCaliforniaKaiser Permanente12,287
48ArlingtonTexasGeneral Motors4,484
49New OrleansLouisianaOchsner Health System16,771
50TampaFloridaPublix Super Markets7,420

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.

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.


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.

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.

About the Author

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.