Charlotte holds the title of North Carolina’s largest city. Not surprisingly, the metro area is home to a diversity of big employers, from health care to mega banks to grocers to air carriers. Here’s a look at the top players and their Charlotte-area employment, according to 2015 data from the Charlotte Chamber.
Carolinas HealthCare System
Biggest payroll: Charlotte’s largest employer, this public nonprofit operates Carolinas Medical Center and about nine other hospitals in the Charlotte area. You can find some of its facilities across the Charlotte metropolitan area, including names such as Levine Children’s Hospital, Carolinas Rehabilitation and Carolinas Medical Center.
Did you know: Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy and Carolinas HealthCare System Pineville rank among the top 100 most profitable U.S. hospital systems, according to a recent study in the journal Health Affairs. The two, owned by Carolinas HealthCare System, jointly ranked 54th with combined earnings of $85 million in net income from patient care in 2013.
Huge hub: This bank might be based in San Francisco, but its biggest employment hub is right here in Charlotte, thanks to its 2008 purchase of Charlotte-based Wachovia. Since then, Wells Fargo has become an even bigger employer in the Charlotte metropolitan area – its local workforce is about 2,000 more than Wachovia had at its peak.
Bigger than BofA: Across the region, Wells Fargo’s employment bests Charlotte-based Bank of America by about 8,000. But when it comes to deposits in Charlotte, Wells Fargo is still second to Bank of America.
By the numbers: One of the nation’s largest school districts, CMS is the second-biggest in the state, with more than 146,000 students in 168 schools across the county. (First place goes to Wake County, with about 157,180 students.) CMS is not the only game in town, competing with charter schools and other options. But it has the largest share of Mecklenburg County students, serving about 77 percent of them in 2015-16.
More growth expected: District officials project that CMS will expand to about 146,600 students in the upcoming school year.
Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club
Large footprint: The world’s largest retailer has about 40 stores in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties, including its Sam’s Clubs, Neighborhood Markets and Supercenters.
Bagging the top spot: Wal-Mart is also the biggest grocer in Charlotte, when market share for its Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Club stores are combined, according to rankings from Chain Store Guide, a sales-tracking firm.
Bank of America
Trade and Tryon: The intersection of those two streets in uptown Charlotte is where you’ll find the 60-story headquarters tower of Bank of America, the second-largest bank in the U.S. by assets. New York’s JPMorgan Chase & Co. is No. 1 in assets. In Charlotte, Bank of America holds about 74 percent of deposits, according to the latest federal data, which takes into account non-consumer deposits the bank also records in its headquarters city.
History lesson: Bank of America traces its Charlotte roots all the way back to 1874, the year predecessor Commercial National Bank was founded here.
At a glance: Based in Winston-Salem, Novant is Carolinas HealthCare System’ largest competitor in the Charlotte area. The private, nonprofit group includes 14 hospitals, four of which are in Mecklenburg County, such as Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center and Novant Health Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital.
Top 50: Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center ranked 47th among the top 100 most profitable U.S. hospital systems, according to the study in the journal Health Affairs. Novant had earnings of more than $92 million in net income from patient care in 2013.
Lift off: The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier’s second-busiest hub is Charlotte Douglas International Airport, where it is one of nine airlines that serve the facility. American is the primary carrier at the airport, operating more than 90 percent of the daily flights. The carrier’s activity at Charlotte-Douglas’ plays a large role in its ranking as fifth-busiest airport in the nation, measured by takeoffs and landings.
Fast fact: Charlotte Douglas became American Airlines’ second-busiest hub as a result if its 2013 merger with US Airways, which dropped its name.
Deon Roberts covers banking for the Observer.