5,000 Companies. 582,000 Jobs Created. Inside the Numbers on America’s Hottest Businesses


Each year, Inc. sorts through the Inc. 5000 list to find the facts, figures, and trends that make for great stories. Some of those trends are more obvious than others–like the fact that California, with the fifth-largest global economy and a population larger than that of many European countries, is first in pretty much everything. But there are some really interesting stories found a bit further down the list.

Like the fact that one of the oldest Inc. 5000 companies, Itasca, Illinois-based W.S. Darley & Co. (founded 1908), manufactures fire trucks and firefighting equipment (and is still growing!). And that Signallamp Health, which is the only Inc. 5000 company located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, grew revenue 1,845 percent in the past three years and added 40 jobs. And that the Detroit metro area, which has struggled for so long, ranked 11th in total revenue last year.

The Inc. 5000 is about celebrating growth–that often means a lot of big numbers. But Inc. thinks the little numbers are pretty cool too. Take a look and you’ll see why.

Fastest-Revenue-Growing Metro Areas With 5 or More Inc. 5000 Companies

  1. Pensacola, Fla. (818 percent)
  2. Madison, Wis. (540 percent)
  3. Inland Empire, Calif. (397 percent)

Top 5 Industries Ranked by Revenue Growth

  1. IT Services (337 percent)
  2. Energy (279 percent)
  3. Media (260 percent)
  4. Software (202 percent)
  5. Financial Services (198 percent)

Top Industry for Job Growth

With 87,003 jobs added between 2016 and 2019, the industry that saw the biggest jobs growth in 2019 was security services. Allied Universal (No. 3,238) led this growth, adding 80,000 jobs between 2016 and 2019. The L.A.- based firm also added the most jobs of any Inc. 5000 company in 2018–and brought in the most 2019 revenue of all Inc. 5000 companies: $7.5 billion.

Texas Ranks Highly in Several Categories

The Lone Star State was number two in 2019 revenue–$21 billion. Texas also has the second most Inc. 5000 companies (430), and ranked third for jobs added (42,396).

Small Population, Big Growth 

Wyoming, the nation’s least populous state (578,759), led all others in average revenue growth, at 629 percent, with just six Inc. 5000 companies that had 101 employees. Meanwhile, Utah, with a population of 3.2 million and 115 Inc. 5000 companies that employ 41,399, grew revenue only 155 percent. Less is more–at least when it comes to the law of averages.

Powerhouse Companies in Ohio

Just five companies in the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA, metro area generated one of the nation’s highest median growth rates: 1,445 percent.

No. 2 in Job Creation

The Atlanta metro area added 45,890 jobs between 2016 and 2019, thanks mostly to Argenbright Holdings (No. 883).

Generations of Business Growth

1 company founded during Great Depression

5 companies founded during Roaring ’20s

6 companies founded during World War II

8 companies founded post-WWII (1945-49)

18 companies founded in 1950s

Oldest Companies

1895 Garland Industries 

1899 Westminster American Insurance

1912 Upstream Life Insurance Company

1925  Young Automotive Group

Cities With the Most Inc. 5000 Companies

  1. New York City (176)
  2. Chicago (110)
  3. Atlanta (100)
  4. Austin (98)
  5. Houston (76)
  6. San Francisco (67)
  7. San Diego (66)
  8. Los Angeles (61)
  9. Dallas (57)
  10. Tampa (42)

Data reporting by Natalie Soler.

From the September 2020 issue of Inc. Magazine

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