America’s Biggest Companies, Then and Now (1955 to 2010)

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3. General Electric
Employees in 1955: 210,151
Employees today: 304,000

General Electric is one of the few companies that has grown significantly over the last five decades. It was largely an industrial firm in 1955, and now makes a large amount of its revenue and profits from financial services.


4. Chrysler
Employees in 1955: 167,813
Employees today: 58,000

Another car company that benefited from a very limited number of imports. The firm nearly went out of business during the 1980s recession and was rescued by the US government. It moved into Chapter 11 nearly two years ago.


5. Standard Oil Of New Jersey
Employees in 1955: 155,000
Employees today: 102,700

Standard Oil of New Jersey was part of the original Standard Oil trust created by John Rockefeller. The company was merged into what eventually became Exxon Mobil.

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6. Amoco
Employees in 1955: 135,784
Employees today: N/A

Another piece of the Rockefeller trust, the company was merged into BP America and is now part of BP plc.


7. CBS
Employees in 1955: 117,143
Employees today: 25,580

The dominant force in both national radio and TV, the company also owned several large stations. As media has broken into more forms of delivery, including cable and Internet, CBS has grown smaller.


8. AT&T Technologies
Employees in 1955: 98,141
Employees today: N/A

This division of AT&T handled the telephone company’s R&D was was spun out of AT&T completely in 1984.