The Most Profitable Industry in Your State Might Surprise You

See which industry is bringing in the big bucks for your state.

In many states, the most profitable industry is quite stereotypical such as Michigan and the automotive industry. In many others, though, the most lucrative industry might not be what you’d first think, like aerospace in Kentucky.

GOBankingRates conducted a new study to find the most profitable industry in each U.S. state — and there are several themes that stand out. Automotive, aerospace and mineral products tend to be the most lucrative industries. Another notable pattern is the profitability of industries connected to healthcare. The precision instrument industry, for example, is fueled by a variety of medical and diagnostic products, each with exorbitant price tags.

Click here to read about money lessons learned in the food industry.

On a broader level, industries related to the production of electronics are major sources of profit. With the ubiquity of mobile phones and devices, and with no reason for that to end, the machinery and mechanical appliances industry is the most profitable in several states.

Keep in mind: The most profitable industry does not equal the biggest industry. By the standards of biggest or largest, most states would be a boring mix of healthcare or retail.

Here are the top five states ranked by their main industry’s profitability:

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  1. Texas – Mineral Products
  2. Washington – Aerospace
  3. California – Machinery and Mechanical Appliances
  4. New York – Precious Metals, Stones, etc.
  5. Louisiana – Mineral Products

Mineral products include major fossil fuels like coal and oil. The latter is the primary reason it’s the most lucrative industry in Texas and Louisiana, where oil fields on land and in the Gulf of Mexico fuel their economies. New York’s precious metal and stones industry is driven by diamonds and other jewelry products. In other states, the precious metal industry is the most profitable due to non-jewelry applications.

Find Out: Most and Least Recession-Proof States

Check out the full list of states below, their most profitable industry and the value of the industry’s top-selling products represented in millions of U.S. dollars:

State Industry Value of Industry’s Top Products (in millions)
Alabama Automotive $7,987
Alaska Fishing $2,359
Arizona Machinery and Mechanical Appliances $4,270
Arkansas Aerospace $1,503
California Machinery and Mechanical Appliances $26,823
Colorado Meat $1,076
Connecticut Aerospace $5,627
Delaware Automotive $858
Florida Machinery and Mechanical Appliances $7,576
Georgia Aerospace $6,694
Hawaii Aerospace $370
Idaho Machinery and Mechanical Appliances $1,309
Illinois Machinery and Mechanical Appliances $5,751
Indiana Automotive $7,526
Iowa Meat $1,324
Kansas Aerospace $2,565
Kentucky Aerospace $11,649
Louisiana Mineral Products $23,327
Maine Fishing $431
Maryland Aerospace $814
Massachusetts Precision Instruments $3,199
Michigan Automotive $22,735
Minnesota Precision Instruments $2,417
Mississippi Mineral Products $3,076
Missouri Automotive $2,234
Montana Mineral Products $256
Nebraska Meat $1,520
Nevada Accommodation and Food Services $20,027
New Hampshire Machinery and Mechanical Appliances $1,685
New Jersey Precious Metals, Stones, etc. $2,624
New Mexico Machinery and Mechanical Appliances $1,835
New York Precious Metals, Stones, etc. $25,059
North Carolina Pharmaceutical $3,698
North Dakota Mineral Products $3,074
Ohio Automotive $5,955
Oklahoma Machinery and Mechanical Appliances $1,167
Oregon Machinery and Mechanical Appliances $10,125
Pennsylvania Mineral Products $3,672
Rhode Island Precious Metals, Stones, etc. $669
South Carolina Automotive $10,107
South Dakota Meat $223
Tennessee Precision Instruments $3,425
Texas Mineral Products $73,603
Utah Precious Metals, Stones, etc. $3,714
Vermont Machinery and Mechanical Appliances $1,640
Virginia Machinery and Mechanical Appliances $1,459
Washington Aerospace $42,163
West Virginia Mineral Products $3,302
Wisconsin Machinery and Mechanical Appliances $1,538
Wyoming Chemicals & Allied Industries $951

Click through to learn about the most valuable public company in every state.

More on U.S. Economy

Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the most profitable industry based on the value of industry products, in millions of U.S. dollars, sourced from U.S. Census Bureau 2017 data; industries were defined using Harmonized System (HS) codes.

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About the Author

Andrew DePietro

Andrew DePietro is a finance writer with years of experience covering topics such as taxation, Social Security, entrepreneurship, investing, real estate and housing markets. His work has appeared on MSN, Yahoo Finance, Fortune, Forbes, CBS and U.S. News. Before writing for GOBankingRates, Andrew worked as a research assistant and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in History.

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The Most Profitable Industry in Your State Might Surprise You
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