Unexpectedly Intriguing!
April 6, 2006

Here at Political Calculations, the month of April means two things:

  1. 1. U.S. Income Tax returns are due.
  2. 2. Fortune has released its annual ranking of the largest U.S. companies by revenue!

While we can't pretend to be too happy about the first item on the list, the release of the Fortune 500 rankings represents a treasure trove of accumulated data that let's us measure the economic performance of the publicly-traded titans of the U.S. economy.

Our first dip into Fortune's 2006 data pool has produced another annual ranking: the top 10 companies by number of employees! The static table below provides the indicated companies' rank within the Fortune 500, their industry, the number of their employees reported this year, the number of their employee recorded last year and the percentage change between the two numbers:

2006 Fortune 500 Top 10 Employers
Rank Company Industry 2006 Number of Employees 2005 Number of Employees Pct. Change
2 Wal-Mart Stores General Merchandisers 1,800,000 1,600,000 12.5
109 McDonald's Food Services 447,000 438,000 2.1
44 United Parcel Service Mail, Package & Freight Delivery 407,000 384,000 6.0
33 Sears Holdings General Merchandisers 355,000 380,000 -6.6
14 Home Depot Specialty Retailers 345,000 325,000 6.2
29 Target General Merchandisers 337,000 300,000 12.3
10 Intl. Business Machines Computers, Office Equipment 329,373 329,001 0.1
3 General Motors Motor Vehicles & Parts 327,000 324,000 0.9
7 General Electric Diversified Financials 316,000 307,000 2.9
8 Citigroup Commercial Banks 303,000 290,500 4.3

Note: The number of employees for Sears Holdings in 2005 was determined by adding the number of employees of the pre-merged Sears Roebuck and Kmart Holdings for that year.

The top ten employers of the Fortune 500 index collectively employed 4,966,373 people in 2006, a 6.2% increase from the 4,677,501 they employed in 2005. Of the 10 companies, only Sears Holdings reduced its headcount following the merger of Sears Roebuck and Kmart Holdings in 2005.

Overall, the 2006 Fortune 500 companies employed 24,746,142 people, with the top 10 companies by number of employees representing some 20.1% of that total. By itself, Wal-mart Stores accounts for 7.3% of the total employment of the Fortune 500!

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