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Top Employers in PA

Students, nurses and AmazonThroughout the centuries since Pennsylvania’s founding, the region has grown into a thriving industrial center with a wide range of industries throughout the Keystone State. With such a diverse population and economy, you may be surprised to learn what industries employ the most people throughout PA and in Cumberland County specifically.

Cumberland County and the entire flourishing Pennsylvania region are home to a unique range of world-renowned companies and government and corporate headquarters. As your trusted source of information on the Cumberland County region, we’ve compiled this guide for the top companies in PA. The following are some of the largest industries and associated businesses in PA and the largest employers in Cumberland County.

Federal and State Government

The federal government is the number one largest employer in Cumberland County, while the state government also ranks highly as the fourth biggest county employer. Numerous government operations appear on both the county’s and state’s list of top employers, including:

  • Military: Three military bases located across Cumberland County employ over 7,000 workers. Official and civilian military positions account for the largest portion of federal government employment in the county. The PA Department of Defense is also the seventh largest employer in the state overall.
  • Federal and state departments: Federal and state departments such as Human Services, Veteran Affairs and Corrections all appear in the top 15 largest employers in PA. Government-run operations also employ significant numbers of people throughout the state, such as the U.S. Postal Service, which ranked as the fourth largest PA employer.
  • Local government: With 33 diverse boroughs and townships, Cumberland County employs numerous people in various local government positions. In fact, Cumberland County government is the 12th largest county employer. Local government also ranks highly across the entire state, as the city of Philadelphia ranks third overall, and Allegheny County also appears in the top 50.

Retail/Grocery Outlets

Many retailers and grocers are attracted to Pennsylvania’s diverse range of rural, suburban and urban areas, making retail a top industry across the state. World-famous retail and grocery outlets have created a significant number of jobs in both Cumberland County and the state of PA, composing a large percentage of state and county employment. These centers not only employ in-store but also in distribution centers and e-commerce warehouses throughout PA. Top retailers in the county and state include:

  • Walmart: As the single largest employer in the U.S., this well-known retail giant is also the number one overall employer in PA, with 54,000 workers scattered across the state’s 162 retail units and various distribution centers. They also employ numerous workers throughout Cumberland County, where they rank as the ninth largest employer.
  • Giant Food Stores: Giant Food Stores began in Carlisle in 1923 and is the sixth-largest employer in PA and the third-largest in the county.
  • Amazon: While Amazon is only the 20th top employer in PA, several Carlisle warehouses  makes it the 2nd largest employer in Cumberland County. With  approximately 2,600 workers, the Carlisle distribution center is one of eight warehouses across the state.
  • Other retailers: Other retailers and grocery stores that made the state’s top 50 list include Weis Markets, Target, Lowe’s, Home Depot and Kohl’s.


Home to distinguished and award-winning educational facilities, PA is a robust center for primary and secondary schooling as well as higher education. Schools across the state employ an average of 168 teachers per district, accounting for thousands of educational jobs in Cumberland County and the rest of PA. As a result, elementary and secondary education ranks as the second largest industry in PA and the fifth in the county. Likewise, higher education is the fourth largest state industry and the eighth largest in the county.

Some of the top employers in PA education include:

  • Penn State: As the eighth largest employer in PA, Penn State employs over 17,000 full-time staff across 24 campuses throughout the state.
  • School District of Philadelphia: The School District of Philadelphia — the eighth largest school district in the U.S. — employs around 9,000 teachers across the district as well as hundreds of other full-time staff, making it PA’s ninth largest employer.
  • Cumberland Valley School District: While the Cumberland Valley School District doesn’t rank among the top state employers, it remains the 11th largest employer in Cumberland County.
  • Other schools and universities: Other schools, including the University of Pittsburgh and Temple University, also made the PA state list, while the Mechanicsburg and Carlisle school districts, Dickinson College, Messiah College and others appeared on the Cumberland County list.


Healthcare is a thriving industry throughout Pennsylvania, as the state boasts the second-highest population of older adults in the U.S. after Florida. With several first-class health facilities in the region, healthcare is also the largest growing industry in Cumberland County with the most promise for job growth. Healthcare facilities that made the state and county top employers lists include:

  • Hospitals: While several hospitals are featured on the state list, UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside — which ranked 10th — is the largest healthcare employer in the state, with over 1,000 primary care physicians and thousands of other staff members. On the Cumberland County list, Geisinger Holy Spirit Hospital is the fifth largest county employer and UPMC Pinnacle Carlisle is the 40th.
  • Other medical facilities: Besides hospitals, other health systems also top the statewide list, including the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, Milton Hershey Medical Center and Western Penn Allegheny Health. In Cumberland County, Highmark Inc is the 8th largest employer.
  • Other healthcare businesses: Health service facilities, drugstores and other healthcare businesses that rank among the largest state and county employees include Highmark Health Services, Bayada Home Health Care, CVS Pharmacy and Rite Aid.

Contact CAEDC for More Information

The state of Pennsylvania is home to a thriving economy and robust industry growth. This job market — combined with a low cost of living five percent below the national average — is one of the many reasons that thousands of Pennsylvania business owners choose to call Cumberland County their home.

If you’re interested in moving your business to Cumberland County, CAEDC can help. Reach out to us today to learn more about our variety of resources and services for both small and large companies.

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