biggest employers

The Biggest Employers


A look at some of the largest employing companies in the US.


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The Biggest Employers



With a workforce of nearly 1.3 million people, Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in America.

The website “24/7 Wall St.” determined the largest employers based on the total number of full-time and part-time workers at the end of each company’s most recent fiscal year.


Some of the companies, such as Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, provide mostly low-wage, low-skilled, hourly-wage jobs with limited career opportunities. This has given rise to the slang “McJob”.

High Technology

Others, such as IBM and General Electric, are leading technological innovators. Their workforces are more highly skilled, educated, and better compensated (paid).

For 20 straight years, IBM has received more patents from the U.S. Patent Office than any other business, with nearly 6,500 awarded in 2012 alone. Additionally, five IBM employees have won a Nobel Prize.

Labor Unions

Several of the nation’s largest employers have developed reputations for being anti-labor-union. In 2011, when workers at a Target department store in Valley Stream, N.Y., began unionizing, the company voiced its opposition. Target produced video warning employees about joining unions.

By contrast, Kroger and UPS have largely unionized workforces.

The Top Five US Employers

No. 5: United Parcel Service
Total employees: 399,000
Industry: Delivery and freight

No. 4: IBM
Total employees: 434,246
Industry: Technology

No. 3: McDonald’s
Total employees: 440,000
Industry: Fast food

No. 2: Yum Brands (owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut)
Total employees: 523,000
Industry: Fast food

No. 1: Wal-Mart
Total employees: 1.3 million
Industry: Retail

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1. McDonald’s provides the most jobs in the United States. True or false?

2. Does the source of the information in this article come from the US Government?

3. What is the meaning of “McJob”?

4. Compare the jobs at IBM with McDonald’s.

5. How would you describe IBM?

6. Are US companies friendly or hostile to labor unions?

7. Are most jobs in America low-wage, low-skilled; or high-tech, high-paying, or both?
A. Who are the largest employers in your country? What kind of jobs or careers do they provide?

B. Has the employment situation changed over the past decades, in terms of industries, companies and jobs?

C. What company does everyone want to work for? What are some desirable companies to work for? Does it differ among people with different educational backgrounds? Why do they want to work there?

D. How can someone work in a good company?

E. What should the government and people do?

F. What will happen in the future?


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