Fortune 500: Seems MN is a good place to do business, after all


The current issue of Fortune magazine has its annual Fortune 500 list, bringing bragging rights to many Minnesotans and anquish to others who set their sights much lower.

Minnesota is listed with 21 companies among the “500,” based on total revenue in their most recent fiscal years. California and Texas lead the list with 57 companies each, New York is home to 56, Illinois has 31, Pennsylvania has 25, and Ohio edges out Minnesota with 23 companies.

Minnesota blows them all away if one would take the time to measure huge business entities on a per capita basis. The same would undoubtedly apply to jobs, or employment, at headquarters companies against total job numbers for each of the states.

So who won’t be happy with this success? The advocates of doom and gloom who are always trying to wrangle another tax subsidy out the state, or cut back on education funding, or shut down local services that make Minnesota and its cities attractive places to stay and work.

So how do the great examples of so-called “good business climates” fare on the Fortune 500 list? South Dakota, zero companies; Mississippi, zilch; Wyoming, zippo; Alabama, one, and South Carolina has three.

The Minnesota list of companies is a little misleading. Fortune only uses “public,” not private companies on the list and that eliminates Cargill Inc. ($116.6 billion in 2009 revenue!). But the Fortune list does include cooperatives that are public companies under different legal codes even though they aren’t open for everyone to join or own stock.

Also, PepsiAmericas has been purchased in the past year by Pepsico so it will be leaving the Fortune 500 list.

But if you are driving around the Twin Cities, or Austin, tip your hats in salute to these companies: UnitedHealth Group, Target, Best Buy, Supervalu, CHD, 3M, U.S. Bancorp, General Mills, Medtronic, Land O’Lakes, Mosaic, Xcel Energy, Ameriprise Financial, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Hormel Foods, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Ecolab, Nash Finch, St. Jude Medical and Alliant Techsystems. They do help make Minnesota a great place to live, work and play.