Extremes filled the IndustryWeek US 500 this year. Some categories slumped, like Machinery (where the annual revenue of each of the 14 largest American manufacturers dropped from the previous year), Petroleum & Coal Products (where the top nine and 17 of the top 19 all dropped) and Primary Metals (where 11 of the top 13 were down). Others surged, including Medical Instruments & Equipment (the top 15 all increased revenue from the previous year, and eight of the top 11 jumped at least 12%).
And then there was Computers & Other Electronics Products, which was just sort of … there.
No category included more companies overall (54 of the top 500) or in the top 30 (seven, including three in the top 10). We live in The Information Age, after all, and these are the companies that connect us to the world.
So, who cracked the top 10 of perhaps the most powerful category on the IW US 500? Our annual ranking of the top 500 publicly held U.S. manufacturing companies based on revenue includes some names you might not expect … and plenty you do.
One SPOILER ALERT: Apple is at the top of the category again — second overall for the second straight year behind only Exxon Mobil Corp. and continuing to close on the oil giant. Exxon Mobil outpaced Apple in annual revenue better than eight dollars to one in 2009, and nearly three to one as recently as 2013. But after notching nearly $216 billion in revenue last year, Apple has narrowed the gap to less than $11 billion — and appears poised to take over the top spot of the 500 next year, especially with strong iPhone 8 sales. Whether oil slumps and tech spikes long enough for that to happen, of course, remains a matter for the future.
For now, the current top 10.