Major Employers in Idaho


Employers in Idaho range from the smallest of farms to high tech manufacturers. Many people want to know who the larger employers are in the state, and what sectors provide the most jobs. The bulk of Idaho employment is from private business, 77%, agriculture is at 7% and public-sector jobs funded by federal, state, and local agencies amount to about 16%.

Food processing and manufacturing provides roughly 40,000 jobs in Idaho. The J. R. Simplot Company, which got its start dehydrating potatoes and onions for the troops during World War II, is the largest food manufacturing employer. Simplot is one of the 20 largest employers in Idaho with over 2,000 workers in the state. Over 1,000 jobs are also reported for:

Amalgamated Sugar

Conagra Foods/Lamb Weston

Basic American Foods

A few additional food manufacturers recently opened shop in southern Idaho making cheese and yogurt. Others focus on dehydrated potatoes or frozen vegetables. Each of these employ over 500 people:

Glanbia Foods

Chobani Idaho

Sorrento Lactalis

Idahoan Foods

Dickenson Frozen Foods

McCain Foods

Durable goods manufacturers in Idaho also employ about 40,000 people. Computer, semiconductor and other electronic manufacturers reported over 12,000 jobs to the state Department of Labor. Micron Technology is the third largest employer in Idaho with more than 6,000 employees reported. Based in Boise, Micron is an international company selling products worldwide. Micron manufactures several different computer memory products with the brand names of Micron, Crucial, and Ballistix.

HP (Hewlett Packard) also has more than 1,500 jobs in Boise, and ON Semiconductor operates in Pocatello and Nampa with more than 500. Plexus Corporation also employs more than 500 people at its Nampa location. The presence of Micron and HP has opened the way for other tech firms, including startups, to locate in Idaho, with downtown Boise a central location for many, including Oracle, Cradlepoint and Balihoo.

Other durable goods manufacturers in Idaho produce transportation equipment, medical equipment, system and process equipment, chemicals and plastic products, wood products, fabricated metal products, and machinery. Clearwater Paper Corporation and Federal Cartridge Company are both northern Idaho companies with more than 1,000 on the payroll. Federal Cartridge Company, or Federal Premium, manufactures a wide variety of high-quality ammunition, including shotgun shells and clay pigeons. Three other manufacturers have more than 500 personnel:

Woodgrain Millwork


Idaho Forest Group

Battelle Energy Alliance, which operates at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), is a key employer and one of the top 10 employers for the state. With over 4,000 employees it’s the largest employer in eastern Idaho. Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation also operates at INL, located between Arco and Blackfoot, with over 1,000 workers.

The healthcare industry is well represented on the list of Idaho’s largest employers. Both St. Luke’s and St. Alphonsus operate several facilities in southern Idaho, while Kootenai Health is based in Coeur d’Alene. St. Luke’s reports a total of more than 13,000 employees, making it the largest employer in the state. St. Alphonsus has over 4,000 staff, one of the 10 largest employers, and Kootenai Health more than 2,000 staff. Two eastern Idaho hospitals also employ more than 1,000 people – Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls and Portneuf Regional Medical Center in Pocatello.

The largest private employment sector is retail with 11% of the jobs in Idaho – nearly 90,000. Retail is big business in large and small communities, and with locations throughout Idaho it’s no surprise that Walmart, Albertson’s and Fred Meyer are in the top 20 employers list. Albertson’s, based in Boise, is a local favorite. Costco also employs more than 1,000 people in the state.

Idaho Power Company is the largest utility in the state and serves most of southern Idaho. It operates 17 hydroelectric power plants, allowing the company to provide reliable, lower cost electricity to its customers. Idaho Power has more than 2,000 personnel and is one of the 20 largest employers.

Wells Fargo, which operates a customer service center in Boise, tops the list of financial institutions in Idaho with over 2,000 employees and is also among the top 20 employers for the state. US Bank is in second place for the banking category with over 1,000 personnel.

Other private sector firms reporting more than 1,000 employees include:


US Bank

McDonald’s – Darmody Enterprises


United Parcel Service

Sun Valley Company

The federal government employs several thousand people in various agencies across Idaho. The two largest are the Postal Service and Department of Defense, which includes Mountain Home Air Force Base. Other federal agencies with over 1,000 personnel include:

U.S. Forest Service

Veterans Administration and Hospital

U.S. Bureau of Land Management

In the field of education, four of the universities in Idaho and two school districts are on the top 20 employers list:

Brigham Young University-Idaho

Boise State University

University of Idaho

West Ada School District

Boise School District

Idaho State University

Two colleges and six other school districts employ more than 1,000 teachers and staff:

Nampa School District

Pocatello School District

Bonneville Joint School District

Coeur d’Alene School District

Idaho Falls School District

Twin Falls School District

College of Western Idaho

College of Southern Idaho

The State of Idaho also has many employees throughout the state and one agency is placed in the top 20, the Department of Health and Welfare with over 2,000 personnel. Two other state agencies and two local governments also employ more than 1,000 people:

Idaho Department of Corrections

City of Boise

Ada County

Idaho Transportation Department

Wherever you look for work, and whatever you want to do, there is variety across the state to suit your needs. Many of these and other employers are always on the lookout for new talent. So give it a shot!

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