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FortuneFortune

Fortune

June 2019

FORTUNE covers the entire field of business, including specific companies and business trends, tech innovation prominent business leaders, and new ideas shaping the global marketplace. FORTUNE is particularly well known for its exceptionally reliable annual rankings of companies. FORTUNE furthers understanding of the economy, provides implementable business strategy, and gives you the practical knowledge you need to maximize your own success.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Meredith Corporation
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20 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

access_time4 min.
the prize of size

CONSIDER THIS FACT: Just 500 companies—the ones on this year’s Fortune 500 list, to be precise—produced enough revenue last year to equal two-thirds of the entire economic output of the United States. Think about that a minute: just 500 companies. These same American businesses sold an astounding $13.7 trillion worth of goods and services, a record sum whether you measure it in nominal dollars or adjusted for inflation. But focus in on the numbers and you’ll discover something yet more remarkable: that just a tenth of these companies account for nearly half (48%) of that total revenue. Sharpen your microscope a bit more, and you’ll see that profits among the group are more concentrated still—with a mere 40 companies responsible for 52% of the combined earnings. Twenty-seven of these household names…

access_time2 min.
fortune

EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Clifton Leaf EXECUTIVE EDITOR Adam Lashinsky DIGITAL EDITOR Andrew Nusca FEATURES EDITOR Matthew Heimer DEPUTY DIGITAL EDITOR Kristen Bellstrom ASIA EDITOR Clay Chandler CHAIR, MPW SUMMIT & COFOUNDER Patricia Sellers SENIOR EDITORS AT LARGE Geoff Colvin, Nina Easton, Shawn Tully CREATIVE DIRECTOR Peter Herbert DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Mia J. Diehl DIRECTOR OF VIDEO Mason Cohn SENIOR EDITORS Daniel Bentley, Lee Clifford, Scott DeCarlo (lists), Verne Kopytoff, Beth Kowitt, Ellen McGirt SENIOR WRITERS Erika Fry, Robert Hackett, Michal Lev-Ram, David Meyer (Berlin), Aaron Pressman, Jeff John Roberts, Phil Wahba, Jen Wieczner EDITORS Jaclyn Gallucci, Rachel King, Polina Marinova, Radhika Marya, John Patrick Pullen, Claire Zillman (London) COMMENTARY EDITORS Tamara El-Waylly, Jake Meth AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT EDITORS John Buysse, McKenna Moore (asst. editor) PRODUCTION EDITOR Lydia Belanger ASSOCIATE EDITORS Katherine Dunn (London), Emma Hinchliffe SENIOR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENTS Susie Gharib (New York), Vivienne…

access_time4 min.
in the land of giants

IT’S WELL UNDERSTOOD in the United States that in recent decades, the spoils of the nation’s economic growth have gone disproportionately to the wealthiest few. But a similar phenomenon exists among U.S. corporations. More and more of their collective revenues are concentrated in a relatively small number of large firms: the corporate giants. Look no further than the Fortune 500 in this issue. Last year, America’s 500 largest corporations tallied a record $13.7 trillion in revenues, a figure equivalent to more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy. Of those trillions and trillions of sales, 47.7% of them belonged to the list’s top 50 firms, up from 46.9% last year, 43.7% 15 years ago, and 41% in 1995. It’s quite possible that next year they’ll account for a solid half, given recent developments…

access_time2 min.
analytics: seeing trends in the data

2019 CEO SURVEY: THE RESULTS ARE IN The CEOs of the Fortune 500 are feeling increasingly cautious. A growing number fear the global economy will worsen in the next year, and close to half are preparing for a recession within the next two years. Despite those worrying signs, they still plan to increase employee headcount and invest in A.I. They also think America is the best place to invest your money. The poll was administered by email between May 1 and May 10, and the response rate was 18%. WHERE THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IS HEADED Last year, the CEOs of the Fortune 500 were ebullient about global prospects, with 40% of CEOs believing the global economy would improve. Now just 17% have such high hopes for the next 12 months. But our CEOs…

access_time2 min.
the cost of a $1 trillion buyback year

AMERICAN BUSINESSES have been buying back their own stock at a wallet-scorching pace. In the five years through 2018, encouraged by solid profits and changes in the tax code, S&P 500 companies repurchased about $2.9 trillion in stock. And last year, overall U.S. buybacks topped $1 trillion in a single year for the first time ever. Buybacks theoretically help both shareholders—by giving them cash to spend or invest elsewhere—and the companies themselves—by taking shares off the market and reducing the cost of paying dividends. But with stock valuations near historic highs, some investors are asking: Are companies paying too much for their own shares? More often than not, the answer is yes. Fortuna Advisors, a financial-strategy consulting firm, estimates that over the past five years, 64% of S&P 500 companies that carried…

access_time2 min.
china’s slowdown explains ‘996’

HUSTLE CULTURE, the top-heavy work/life balance favored by Silicon Valley elites, is under review. Even in China, where hustle has a different name, previously tireless tech engineers are rebelling against the exhausting expectations of their jobs. On GitHub, the Microsoft-owned forum where tech developers share code, a post from an anonymous Chinese user recently criticized the so-called 996 work schedule China’s techies endure—slogging away from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week. “If you work 996, you’ll be in the ICU sick,” wrote the user, adding, “Developers’ lives matter.” Smartly billing itself as a legal rather than a political gripe, the GitHub post says 996 culture contravenes China’s labor laws, which mandate a workweek of 44 hours with overtime capped at 36 hours a month. On a 996 schedule,…

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