IW U.S.500

500 Largest U.S. Manufacturers: Manufacturing Giants

May 11, 2007
Propelled by Big Oil and high-tech, the 2007 IW U.S. 500 companies accounted for $5 trillion in revenues. With 50 new companies on the list, this group of manufacturing leaders is demonstrating how to stay competitive in a global economy.

"The great American worker... has made our nation strong and prosperous. It is by the labor of the worker that our economy is the greatest and most productive in the world." It seems fitting that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said those words. After all, his state has 56 manufacturers on this year's IW U.S. 500, a list of the nation's largest manufacturers ranked by revenue.

With more than 11% of the top 500 manufacturing companies, the Golden State certainly does show the world that U.S. industry still has plenty of know-how to compete on a global playing field. California, for instance, is home to manufacturing titans in a number of verticals, such as No. 3 Chevron Corp. (petroleum), No. 9 Hewlett-Packard Co. (computers), No. 162 Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. (primary metals), No. 255 Allergan Inc. (pharmaceuticals) and No. 260 Del Monte Foods Co. (food).

Looking at the list as a whole, the top 500 manufacturers generated more than $5 trillion in revenues last year, a 1% gain on the $4.9 trillion from the previous year's list. That $5 trillion includes the revenues of 50 companies -- an even 10% -- that are new to the IW 500.

Making the most impressive debut on the list is TRW Automotive Holdings Co. (No. 76). Based in Livonia, Mich., TRW posted 2006 revenues of $13.1 billion and nearly 15% return on equity. The company is among the world's 10 largest automotive suppliers and supplies more than 40 major vehicle manufacturers. TRW's auspicious debut is all the more noteworthy given the overall malaise in the automotive sector.

Another newbie is Lake Forest, Ill.-based Hospira Inc. (No. 281). Created from the core global hospital products business of Abbott Laboratories, Hospira manufactures medication delivery systems, specialty injectable pharmaceuticals and critical-care devices. Hospira, which has 18 manufacturing plants and approximately 15,000 employees worldwide, posted 2006 revenues of $2.6 billion, a nearly 9% profit margin, 17.9% return on equity and 8.5% return on assets.

See Also...

Creating The List

Charts And Tables

Mapping Manufacturing

See The IW U.S. 500

With 50 new companies on the list, by necessity an equal number had to have fallen off the list. For some, the reason was obvious -- their financial performance was off in 2006. For others, though, their absence on the list is due to their being acquired during the past year. Lucent Technologies Inc., for instance, which ranked at No. 103 last year, vanished off the list completely when it was acquired by France-based Alcatel. Similarly, Reebok International Ltd. was acquired by Germany-based adidas-Salomon AG. Meanwhile, Maytag Corp. was acquired by Whirlpool Corp. (No. 56), and JLG Industries Inc. was acquired by Oshkosh Truck Corp. (No. 231).

We also culled out all of the software companies from the list, as a consensus survey of these companies indicated that few if any of them consider themselves manufacturers. One notable exception is Microsoft Corp., which in addition to being the world's leading software company also produces the Xbox gaming system. As more and more products become digitalized, the concept of manufacturing will need to continually be re-evaluated.

In reading the charts below you will get a glimpse into the impact that U.S. manufacturing has on the world. You'll find a breakdown of the 30 industries that appear on the 2007 list, as well as the revenues generated by the top companies within those verticals. To the surprise of probably no one, the petroleum and coal products sector clearly dominates the list, with revenues more than twice the No. 2 vertical, computers and electronics.

You'll learn which states, after California, have the most manufacturing companies on the IW U.S. 500 list. You'll discover which manufacturers have enjoyed the longest sustained runs over the past five years. And we've also developed a unique map that pinpoints exactly where the 500 biggest manufacturing companies are located, state by state.

Click here to access the full IW U.S. 500 list and sort it by industry, ranking and financial performance.

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