Largest companies doing more with less
The companies of the Russell 1000 improved their efficiency in 2018, lowering headcount without seeing a subsequent drop-off in sales. The median sales per employee in 2018 was $468 million, up from $449 million in 2017, while the median employee headcount fell by 369.
Whether this will be a continuing trend is yet to be seen; however, historical data show the two to have an overall positive relationship. Sales in 2018 showed little growth compared with the previous year, giving companies little incentive to add labor.
The index's largest employer, Wal-Mart, has reported a headcount 2.3 million people since 2016 and minimal sales growth, while its largest competitor, Amazon.com, has almost doubled its workforce over that period to 647,500.