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California Unseats Texas as Top IW US 500 Manufacturing State

July 8, 2016
Big oil, computer/electronics and chemical companies dominate industry rankings and influence state rankings in the IW U.S. 500.

Tied with 61 IW U.S. 500 companies each last year, California surged ahead of Texas, 64 companies to 55. By revenue, the biggest manufacturers in California together contributed $881 billion to the state's coffers, while the biggest in Texas contributed $847 billion.

As with all the top states, the two states' fate in the ranking is closely tied to the health of its dominant primary industry and the size of its largest manufacturers. California hosts 34 computer & electronics products companies, contributing $588 billion, which is up by three companies and $48 billion over the previous year. Meanwhile, Texas is home to 33 petroleum and coal products companies, contributing $706.4 billion, which is down by five companies and $398.1 billion.

This map shows both the number of IW 500 companies, along with the total revenue they generate, in each state.

To get a sense of how dominant each of these industries is in the two states, the No. 2 industry by number of companies in California, medical instruments & equipment, adds only six companies and $12.2 billion to the totals. As well, two oil companies add $140.8 billion, largely because Chevron Corp., the 5th largest company on the list with $138.5 billion in revenue, is headquartered in the state. Three pharmaceutical companies add $56.8 billion.

In the Lone Star State, two industries tie for No. 2 by number of companies. Five chemical companies post $14.2 billion, and five machinery companies add $50.2 billion.

At position No. 3 in the state ranking by number of companies, New York landed 36 companies on the list, tallying $503.1 billion in revenue. With eight chemical companies ($45.9 billion) and six publishing and printing companies ($41.8 billion), the Empire State edged out 4th place Illinois, which has 34 companies with combined revenues of $442.5 billion. New York also got a boost from two beverage companies, with $69.6 billion in revenue, and three pharmaceutical companies, with $69.5 billion in revenue.

A bit more diverse than the top three states, Illinois' biggest manufacturers include five from the Machinery industry ($88.5 billion) and four each from food ($106.2 billion) and fabricated metals industries ($21.4 billion). As well, three pharmaceutical companies contribute $49.4 billion in revenue.

Of course, the land of Lincoln also boasts the headquarters of one big aerospace & defense company, Boeing Co., which, with $96.1 billion in revenue, alone contributes more than all other industries in the state except the four food companies combined.

Rounding out the top states with 20 or more companies on the IW U.S. 500 list are Ohio, with 30; Pennsylvania, with 24; and Michigan with 22. Ohio's six chemical companies booked $101.8 billion in revenue, while four machinery companies added $18.1 billion. Also contributing is the nice-sized No. 15 company on the list, Marathon Petroleum Corp. ($72.3 billion).

Pennsylvania combines five chemical companies, with $31.9 billion in revenue, and three companies in the fabricated metal products industry, which contribute $22 billion.

Finally, Michigan rides the success of the state's two top-five ranked auto companies, General Motors Co. (No. 3) and Ford Motor Co. (No. 4), which combine for revenue of $301.9 billion. That's more than the state's nine motor vehicle parts makers, which clock in at $46.8 billion. Dow Chemical Co., the state's only chemical company, contributes $48.8 billion.  

Dominant Industries

Once again big oil, computer/electronics, and chemicals industries finish far ahead of the other industries, with 62, 57 and 52 companies making the IW U.S. 500 list. Machinery finished fourth, with 39 companies, and food industries, fifth, with 27 companies.

Switching the industry ranking to one based on revenue doesn't change the ranking of the top three industries, but demonstrates that not all industries are equal. Punching above its weight, the nine auto companies, which rank tied for 18 by the number of companies on the list with beverage and communications companies, catapults to fourth place in revenue ranks, with $353.3 billion.

Aerospace & defense companies and beverage companies also generate more revenue per company: the former, ranked 15th by number of companies with 13, ranks 7th by revenue ($280.6); the latter jumps from 18th with nine companies, to 10th by revenue ($139.5 billion).

The math works the opposite way as well, with the 19 fabricated metal products companies combining to contribute only $84.8 billion in revenue, and perhaps surprisingly, the 18 medical instruments companies tallying even less, only $74.5 billion.

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