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We’re hearing a lot about the top five oil companies’ big first-quarter profits — $35 billion — but drawing on data compiled by Yahoo Finance, economist Mark Perry notes:

[T]he Integrated Oil and Gas industry made an average profit of 6.2 cents per dollar of sales, which ranks #114 out of 215 industries by profit margin, and puts oil companies right in the middle of industries by profitability.

Industries that did better in the quarter include: publishing – periodicals, 51 percent; application software, 22.7; cigarettes, 19.9; brewers, 16.5; publishing – books, 16.1; wineries and distilleries, 14.9; soft drinks, 14.3; broadcasting – TV, 10.5; and accident and health insurance, 8.1;

In our statist economy, we shouldn’t assume the oil companies are what they would be in a freed market, but that doesn’t mean the facts should be distorted, especially in an effort to gain more tax revenue for the politicians.

Sheldon Richman
Sheldon Richman

Sheldon Richman is the former editor of The Freeman and a contributor to The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. He is the author of Separating School and State: How to Liberate America's Families and thousands of articles.