Officially, 16 Florida-based companies made the just-released Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. companies based on 2013 revenue. But the real number should be 17 because rental car giant Hertz is relocating its headquarters from New Jersey to tiny Estero, near Naples. The Fortune 500 list has not caught up with that move.
Overall, the Fortune 500 lists public and some private businesses and, once again, retail giant Wal-Mart Stores topped Exxon Mobil as No. 1 on the list.
Of Florida's 17 (including Hertz) to make the list, 13 gained in the rankings from last year, while three declined and one stayed the same. Statewide, Miami's fast-growing World Fuel Services, a fuel distributor, ranked highest at No. 71, up from 74.
In the Tampa Bay region, Publix Super Markets in Lakeland was the largest at No. 104, a gain of four spots. Clearwater's Tech Data Corp. was close behind, jumping eight spots to No. 111. St. Petersburg's Jabil Circuit also enjoyed an eight-spot bump up to No. 155 but was dinged by Fortune magazine for a drop in total return to investors in 2013. And Tampa's WellCare Health Plans, farther back in the pack, saw an impressive mega-jump of 51 spots to No. 294 from No. 345.
The Fortune 500 rankings also look at companies below the 500 cutoff (making them technically part of the Fortune 1000) that may be edging closer to making the premier list.
Raymond James Financial, the St. Petersburg investment firm, is closing fast this year at No. 537, up 64 spots from the year before. Tampa's Bloomin' Brands, the parent of Outback Steakhouse and other popular restaurant chains, remained at No. 590, the same as last year. Digital/TV/catalog retailer HSN in St. Petersburg slipped to 670 from 666. And a big drop was recorded by Tampa's TECO Energy, to 759 from 692.
While Florida companies generally gained ground in the rankings, there still aren't that many when compared to other big states. California and New York boasted the largest number of Fortune 500 businesses with a whopping 54 apiece. Texas followed on their heels with 52, while Illinois had 33. That means these four states are home to nearly 40 percent of the Fortune 500.
Bottom line? The Fortune 500 is good news-bad news for Florida. Most of the state's listed companies are gaining ground, but the paltry number of large corporations in the state remains an economic embarrassment.
Robert Trigaux can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.