Big Business in Each U.S. State

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Big businesses are headquartered throughout the United States. This map shows which company is the largest money-making business with its headquarters in that state.

State and local economies try to attract businesses to their area. Generally, the more successful the businesses in a state, the more money will enter the local economy. Also, there may be more jobs where a business is headquartered. To reap these benefits, most states offer tax incentives to businesses looking to move to an area. State officials may also highlight the education level of residents (and potential workers) or other local benefits to attract business headquarters.

Some businesses do establish their headquarters based on these types of incentives. Other headquarters are based on tradition—for example where the business originally started. The businesses that are based in a particular location often affect the relative health of the local economy. For example, the automobile industry in America and its economic successes and challenges have had a large impact on the economy of Detroit, Michigan. In 2009, the U.S. government began a program to bailout the auto industry as a result of its economic decline. Although Detroit (and the auto industry there) is recovering of late.

On the other hand, oil is big business in Texas, and Exxon is king there. As a result, Exxon helps contribute to Texas’s role as a top contributor to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which measures the nation’s economic production and thus economic health. Thus Exxon’s headquarters in Texas greatly helps the local economy.On the negative side, the Exxon Valdez  accident in Alaska in 1985 was responsible for large amounts of oil spillage, this affected the entire company’s profits, and Texas’s too. In this way, the ups and downs of big businesses affect not just the business, but also the local economies where they are headquartered.

For more on this topic, read this Washington Post article here.

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THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

Identifying Look at the map and identify which business is the largest in your state.

Researching Find out more about that business. First think about what would be helpful to know, to understand the business’s effect on the local economy. For example, how many employees does the business have?

Comparing Use statistics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis to learn more about your state’s economy. Compare your state’s economy with others in your region. What business sector is most important in your state? Least? You may want to use a graphic organizer to record your findings.

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