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America's Top 5 Largest Private Employers

When you think about which companies in America have the most employees, the answers might seem obvious. After all, our country is well-known for its giant fast food chains, superstores, department store franchises, et cetera. However, the metrics are a bit more complicated than that.

While America is home to a lot of huge companies, some of them are so expansive that the majority of their employee base is in other countries. We don't often think of how far a chain might reach – but Walmart, for example, has an employee base of 2.2 million, yet only half of those work in the United States.

There's also a variation in what each type of these massive companies require. Fast food chains, for example, require a low skill level for employment, and therefore, their wages are quite low. Their locations are quite simple, needing mostly food service equipment, and therefore it's easy to purchase a franchise. Technological companies, such as utility suppliers or computer manufacturers, require employees with a high level of education, on the other hand, and their wages are much higher in accordance. They require heavy network monitoring, complex machinery, and cloud-based phone systems to operate, and therefore they have a wider range of employee skillsets.

In any case, it's inspiring to look at America's employment giants, whether you're looking for a job or a business owner looking to expand. Let's take a look at who were the five biggest employers at the end of 2013.


Coming in at just under 400,000 employees, the United Parcel Service is experiencing some positive changes as of late. Last year, they signed an agreement with Teamster which guarantees that employees' salaries will begin to increase, as will the number of full-time employees. However, many of these 400k employees are either part-time, seasonal, or hourly.


The 434,000+ individuals that make up the IBM workforce are collectively among the most skilled in the nation, so it's safe to say that this technology company focuses on quality as well as quantity. That being said, the growth is unstable – last year, they had to cut some 3,000 jobs, despite the fact that they have received the most patents than any other American business.


Though it's often joked that working at McDonald's is a last resort for some people, 440,000 people work for this fast food giant. Tens of thousands of new jobs are created each year due to the growth of McDonald's, though there's often debate about whether the wages are sufficient considering the company's size.

Yum! Brands

Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC are all sectors of Yum! Brands, and the industry clocks in at over half a million members of their workforce, though less than half of these are US-employed. After all, the majority of their locations are in China. Needless to say, many of the company's employees are hourly due to the nature of the job, but the company has been so successful in the United States that our nation all but relies on it for boosting employment.


It's no big surprise that Wal-Mart has an enormous staff, but it's hard to comprehend just how big it is. Even though only a little more than half of the employees (1.3 million) are located in the United States, that's still more than the global staff of any other American company. However, the average wage for a Wal-Mart employee hovers not far above minimum wage, so there has been much recent debate over whether Wal-Mart should have its own [higher] minimum.

Source: USA Today

Russ Fordyce

About Russ Fordyce

Russ is the Managing Director of Marketing at Broadview Networks where he works to help consultants and business owners better understand and put technology to use so they can transform how their employees get work done and improve results.

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