The biggest, and the best

The biggest, and the best

 

0712 EditorsLetterOur annual ranking of the state’s largest private companies, the Private 150, turns 30 this year. The companies on the list have changed dramatically over the decades. Where natural resources-based companies once completely dominated, now we see companies such as Knowledge Universe and ODS Health in the top 10. Several food companies are also high on the list.

But even the past five years have been transformative. Though total revenue at the 150 companies on the list is up from last year, it is nowhere near the heights of five years ago. There now are fewer billion-dollar companies, and this year’s Private 150 employ a lot fewer Oregonians:

• In 2007 total revenue was $41 billion versus this year’s $32.7 billion. That’s a drop of 20%.

• In 2007 there were nine companies with revenues of more than $1 billion. This year there are only six.

• In 2007 the Private 150 companies employed about 63,000 Oregonians. This year they employed about 50,000. That's a drop of 21%.

As always, there are large and significant companies that choose not to participate in our survey, which means that our number crunching can only go so far. But the list is still an important harbinger of where Oregon’s private employers stand, and so far they show that they haven’t fully recovered from the recession. There is one promising fact: Revenue growth was 13.4% this year versus 10.8% in 2007.

Oregon Business has another important milestone coming up. Our 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project turns 20 in March. The magazine has spent two decades researching and celebrating great workplaces in Oregon. Few others have been around as long. I encourage you to take the time to sign up for the survey, which opens Aug. 20. It’s free, and even if you don’t make the list, you receive a complimentary basic report.

Watch for details at oregon100best.com, or email research editor Brandon Sawyer (100best(at)oregonbusiness.com) that your company would like to participate. You might not be one of the biggest employers in the state, but you could be one of the best.

Robin Doussard