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The top industries and employers in Wisconsin’s Madison region

The economic landscape of Madison, who’s hiring, and who’s most likely to expand investments into our community.

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We’re diving into the 608’s largest industries + looking at who’s hiring.

Photo by @bestcoastmichelle

Table of Contents

More than 500,000 people (and thousands of businesses) contribute to the Madison metro area’s economy. But have you ever wondered about the 608’s heaviest hitters?

Consider this Madison Business 101 — your guide to our region’s key industries and major employers.

Note: Wisconsin’s Madison region refers to Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Rock, and Sauk counties.

The key industries

Five key industries represent the region’s economy. We’ve listed them in order of employment numbers based on data from the Madison Region Economic Partnership.

Advanced Manufacturing | 71,508 manufacturing employees
We’re great at making things, blending traditional manufacturing with high-tech innovations from local universities.

Major employers include Trek Bicycles, John Deere, and Sub-Zero Wolf.

Healthcare | 68,755 employees
Healthcare jobs make up 12% of regional employment. Advanced technology and training ensure quality services and attract and retain workers. As the population ages, Madison is ready to meet growing healthcare needs.

Major employers include UW Health, SSM Health, and American Family Children’s Hospital.

Agriculture, Food, and Beverage | 61,096 employees
We’re not just farming — our infrastructure supports food production, processing, and distribution. Local entrepreneurs thrive in food incubators, while established companies benefit from our strong industry.

Major employers include Hormel Foods, Del Monte, and Frito-Lay.

Information Communications Technology | 37,081 employees
Forbes recognized Madison as a hub for information jobs. A hot spot for career growth and entrepreneurship, start-ups thrive in our supportive community, drawing talent with our high quality of life.

Major employers include Epic Systems, Nordic Consulting, and Filament Games.

Bioscience | 11,281 employees
Madison is an innovation hub known for groundbreaking discoveries like vitamins and stem cells. UW-Madison’s research prowess attracts over $1 billion in funding, driving major life science companies to the area.

Major employers include Promega, Labcorp Drug Development, and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Exterior of modern-style geometric SSM Health building

New medical campuses, like the state-of-the-art SSM Health facility, are becoming more and more prevalent in the Madison area. | Photo by 608today

The major players

Now that we’ve established the major industries in the Madison region, let’s take a look at some big employers in Dane County specifically. Whether you’re job hunting or just “casually prospecting”, here are Dane County’s current largest employers:

UW Health | 22,000 employees | Health Care and Social Services | Jobs
The health care provider cares for 700,000+ patients across seven hospitals and 80 clinic locations. Traditional services are offered along with mental health care, physical therapies, and state-of-the-art medical testing.

UW-Madison | 21,000 employees | Education | Jobs
The university is constantly hiring for positions ranging from research and teaching, to administration and animal care services.

Epic Systems | 13,000 employees | Information | Jobs
This electronic medical record vendor is synonymous with the 608. Even though the 1,110-acre campus is in Verona, it feels much closer to the Isthmus based on how many Madisonians are related to the tech giant in one way or another.

American Family Insurance | 12,500 employees | Banking, finance, and insurance | Jobs
The $30 billion insurance giant offers personal and professional insurance, plus a mix of other investment and retirement products.

State of Wisconsin | 5,000-10,000+ employees | Government | Jobs
There is a wide variety of employment opportunities under this umbrella. Think: Historical Society, Workforce Development, Veterans Affairs, and much more.

This information is derived from the most recent data published by the Madison Region Economic Partnership.

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