The largest employer in the US

Discover the biggest employers in the US and learn which industries dominate the employment landscape, with insights into post-Covid economic recovery. Understand job stability and opportunities within these large companies despite economic fluctuations.

By Brad Nakase, Attorney

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Have you ever wondered which companies are the largest employers in the US? Perhaps you are wondering if the company you work at is on the list. Here’s a hint: All of the biggest employers in America have more than 100,000 employees.

Companies with the Most Employees

The US economy finally feels like it is getting back to normal post-Covid. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies restructured in order to lower their cost. Any job functions that weren’t deemed essential were significantly reduced or cut altogether.

Now that most organizations have recovered financially (and, in many cases, bounced back even stronger than before), companies are starting to hire again.

Working for companies that are on the list of largest employers in the US does not mean that your job is safe in the event of another recession. While these companies are often more financially stable than small businesses, it does not make them less likely to conduct layoffs.

The Industries That Are the Largest Employers in the US

Before we get into which companies are the largest employers in the US, let’s take a look at which industries are the largest employers in the US.

According to 2023 statistics, the top 5 biggest industries by number of employees were:

  • Education and health services with 36.4 million employees.
  • Professional and business services with 20.7 million employees.
  • Wholesale and retail with 19.7 million employees.
  • Manufacturing with 15.5 million employees.
  • Leisure and hospitality with 14.2 million employees.

If you are looking for a job, these industries may be a good place to start as they employ a large number of employees.

The Companies That Are the Largest Employers in the US

Now let’s take a look at the biggest companies in America by number of employees. These companies are likely to have job openings at any given time due to the sheer number of workers they employ. However, that does not necessarily mean they are economically stable. Companies with large workforces also have high operational costs, so, during times of economic hardship, these largest employers in the US are likely to lay off staff in order to keep the business afloat.

If you are researching the largest employers in the US because you want a job that is recession-proof, then you should consider training or upskilling in a field and job role that is necessary even during a recession. A little bit of research may be required to find these key roles and compare them to your skills, interests, and needs.

Without further ado, let’s look at the 10 largest employers in the US. Our prediction is that most of these will not be a surprise as they are household names with an America-wide presence.

  1. Walmart (Retail) – Walmart employs 2.2 million employees.
  2. Yum! Brands (Fast Food) – Yum! Brands employ 523,000 employees.
  3. McDonald’s (Fast Food) – McDonalds employs 440,000 employees.
  4. IBM (Technology) – IBM employs 434,246 employees.
  5. United Parcel Service (Delivery and Freight) – United Parcel Service employs 399,000 employees.
  6. Target (Retail) – Target employs 361,000 employees.
  7. Kroger (Grocery) – Kroger employs 343,000 employees.
  8. Home Depot (Retail and Home Improvement) – Home Depot employs 340,000 employees.
  9. Hewlett Packard (Technology) – Hewlett Packard employs 331,800 employees.
  10. General Electric (Conglomerate) – General Electric employs 305,000 employees.

Were you surprised at any of the companies on the list of the largest employers in the US?

We found it interesting that number 1 on the list, Walmart, employed approximately 4 x more than number 2 on the list. While Walmart has a global presence, it is most popular in America, and 1.3 million of its employees are based in the US. Walmart is also one of the largest employers in Mexico.

It is also interesting that technology was not on the list of the industries that are the largest employers in the US, but 2 technology companies were on the list of the companies that are the largest employers in the US.

Are the Largest Employers in the US Good Companies to Work For?

It is difficult to make a blanket statement as to whether these companies are good places to work. Each person will have individual factors that they look for in an employer.

However, it is worth noting that in many of these companies, a large portion of the workforce will be minimum wage jobs or part-time jobs. The low minimum wage in the US makes it possible for these businesses to hire huge workforces without impacting their bottom line. Recent debates over the minimum wage in the US have brought up fears of layoffs if the minimum wage were to increase. While we would expect to see job losses in many of these companies in the short term (because in the largest employers in the US, the increase is multiplied by the hundreds of thousands), it would be a positive change in the long term and allow workers to earn a wage that better reflects their hard work.

In general, if you want a job that is more secure and pays better, then you need to look for highly skilled jobs. These are harder to replace, and therefore, companies of all sizes will look to attract and retain talent. Consider the skills that align with your interests and which skills are in high demand before you start training and upskilling.

Have a quick question? We answered nearly 2000 FAQs.

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