If 2009 was a time for companies on the HispanicBusiness 500 directory to hold their breaths as the economy tumbled, 2010 might be characterized as the year those companies could begin breathing again, but only cautiously. While total 2010 revenues for the HispanicBusiness 500 came to $31.9 billion, a 5.7 percent increase from 2009, that is still $4.2 billion less than the $36.1 billion in revenues posted in 2008.
Forward movement in the overall revenues of the Hispanic Business 500 might be a cause for good cheer, but a slew of economic data released this year points to an economy that is still in a seesaw mode.
In the first quarter of 2011, the gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 1.8 percent, slower than the 3.1 percent rate from the fourth quarter of 2010. A steady but sluggish growth in job creation got a jarring blow June 3 when the Labor Department reported that only 54,000 jobs were created and that for the second month in a row, the unemployment rate climbed, to 9.1 percent.
Adding to the less-than-rosy outlook are the disruptions in the supply chain for many sectors caused by the Japan earthquake and tsunami, a fall in consumer confidence, the European debt situation, turmoil in the Middle East and the dragged-out debate on whether to increase the U.S. debt level. The government reached its borrowing limit of $14.3 trillion May 16. An authorization to raise the debt level must be completed by Aug. 8.
The sluggishness of the economic recovery is reflected in the data about the HispanicBusiness 500.
While overall revenues rose, the number of companies failing to post at least $5 million increased by 72.7 percent, from 33 in 2009 to 57 in 2010. That continues a trend started in 2008 when, for the first time in a decade, not every company posted $5 million in revenues. Seven failed to do so in that year.
In addition, the number of people employed at HispanicBusiness 500 companies declined 4.7 percent, from 120,363 to 114,690. Employment at HispanicBusiness 500 companies has seen a constant decline from the year 2006, when the historic high of 147,465 employees was reached.
Interestingly, while revenues overall increased for 2010, year-to-year profit ranges were not as good. All ranges showed a drop in profits (see profit range chart). On the plus side, though, the number of HispanicBusiness 500 companies reporting losses dropped from 6 percent to 3.8 percent. More than half of the companies on the directory did not respond to the profit query, so that might skew the finding.
Market conditions remain the biggest barriers to growth, according to survey responses from HispanicBusiness 500 companies, with 33.4 percent citing this as the top barrier. That is down from 48.4 percent last year. In each of the remaining categoriesócompetition, lack of capital, labor shortage and the catch-all otheró barrier to growth showed declines from 2009 survey responses.
Again, like the profit range queries, 49 percent of the HispanicBusiness 500 companies did not respond to the growth barrier question, compared to 27.4 percent last year.
Return to the Top
Brightstar Corp. of Miami, which has been consistently in the top two spots over the years except for 2004, leaped back to No. 1 on the HispanicBusiness 500 directory with a meteoric increase of $1.8 billion in revenues to push its total revenues for 2010 to $4.6 billion. That is the most revenue it has received since debuting on the directory in 2001. In fact, its previous best year came in 2007 when it posted more than $3.6 billion in revenues. In 2008, on the eve of the brutal recession, it posted more than $3.5 billion in revenues.
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