It sounds almost too easy: to grow a company, hire more people. After all, if a company's workforce isn't expanding, it can't scale. One way to measure a company's growth — if it's public, at least — is to watch the numbers in its annual report year over year. 

But a more real-time — and real-world — way of doing so is to track companies' employee count via the number of LinkedIn ($MSFT) profiles that list it as their employer as a proxy for growth. That's what we did here, and while the list of most rapidly growing companies probably won't surprise readers who've been paying attention, it certainly sheds light on not just on which companies are growing organically, but also how many people are claiming they work for these companies on the world's largest business networking platform.

According to employee count via LinkedIn on a day-to-day basis, Walmart ($WMT) picked up more than 85,000 employees in 2019. This isn't terribly surprising, given the fact that the company employs more than 2 million associates around the world (1.5 million in the United States). The company claims on its corporate site that it promoted "more than 215,000 people to jobs with greater responsibility and higher pay" in 2019.

Earlier this year, Amazon ($AMZN) grabbed headlines when it announced a job fair in order to recruit for more than 30,000 openings. As we reported, though, this is de-rigeur for Bezos and Co: The company has been hiring for more than 30,000 positions all year. As a result, the e-commerce giant has added more than 80,000 people to its workforce - 74,000 according to LinkedIn data - in the past year alone.

McDonald's ($MCD) operates in 120 countries across nearly 38,000 restaurants, and employs more than 210,000 people full-time. When adding in its restaurant associates, however, McDonald's is second only to Walmart with 1.7 million employees. According to LinkedIn profile data, McDonald's added more that 65,000 people to its roster in 2019 alone.

In 2019, more than 60,000 people added Google ($GOOG) as their employer on LinkedIn. That's quite a feat, given the fact that Google officially listed 103,549 employees in its 2018 reports. It's plausible that a large number of those 60,000 "employees" are contractors, and not listed as part of the company's employee load. Either way, that's a lot of new people calling Google home on LinkedIn.

Despite recent layoffs in its media division, more than 66,000 LinkedIn users listed Verizon ($VZ) as their employer in 2019. Much of that increase, however, came with Verizon's acquisition of AOL and Yahoo earlier in the year, and when LinkedIn combined the various company accounts. But the increase is par for course for Verizon, whose 2019 operational revenue exceeded $120 billion and is on pace to do even better next year.

The full list of companies that picked up at least 10,000 new employees via LinkedIin is below. Subscribers can click on the screener results for more information in Thinknum Datalab.

Quick note: These numbers are all according to LinkedIn, which does its best to verify that people actually work for the company they claim they do. It's an imperfect process, however, so the numbers reflected here do not match up to those reported by these copanies.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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