A handful of Chattanooga's biggest employers are ranked among America's best major employers in a new study by Forbes magazine.

The monthly business magazine compiled a list of the best employers in America with over 1,000 workers based upon surveys of more than 50,000 American workers by the market research firm Statista. Workers ranked their willingness to recommend their own employers to friends and family and the rankings were based upon those responses.

"It's a tough time to be a job seeker," said Kristin Stoller, author of the study, noting that nearly 10 million jobs were lost last year during the pandemic. "But the companies featured on our list of America's Best Large Employers are trying hard to attract and retain top talent—many while trying to keep the country safe."

Forbes said the best major employer in the country was the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital, where many of its 23,000 employees are caring for thousands of pandemic-stricken patients while educating America's future doctors and nurses.

In Chattanooga, the top ranked major employer was the Tennessee Valley Authority, which TVA President Jeff Lyash said was born and is sustained by its mission of serving the 7-state TVA region with electricity, economic development and environmental stewardship.

Two of the biggest manufacturers in the Chattanooga area were also among Forbes' Best Large Employers. The world's biggest floorcovering company, Mohawk Industries headquartered in Calhoun, Georgia, ranked 373 on the Forbes 500, while the German auto maker Volkswagen, which operates its only U.S. assembly plant in Chattanooga, ranked as the 448th best major employer.

Both the state of Tennessee and the state's biggest health insurer, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, also were on the Forbes list.

"We are proud to provide our people the chance to engage in meaningful work that improves lives.," said Karen Ward, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at the Chattanooga-based BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

Forbes magazine's new 2021 rankings of the 500 best U.S. employers with over 1,000 employees include:

* Tennessee Valley Authority with 9,989 employees ranked No. 129

* Mohawk Industries with 41,600 employees ranked No. 373

* Volkswagen Group with 670,000 employees ranked No. 448

* State of Tennessee with 40,570 employees ranked No. 461

* BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee with 6,700 employees ranked No. 486

Source: Forbes list of America's Best Large Employers

— Compiled by Dave Flessner