04/03/2012: "Exxon Mobil's pocket earnings"
I regularly read PolitiFact* to cut through a little of the baloney that US politicians regularly spew. I frequently have issues with some of their ratings, particularly the use of the US Congressional Budget Office as an objective source on financial reality, however that's not the subject of today's letter.
Their recent article* on Exxon's earnings prompted this letter. More accurately, one word in the article got me bothered, and that's the use of "pocketed".
While it is clear from their statements* that Exxon Mobil corporation earned an estimated $41 billion in 2011, it is absolutely false that they "pocketed" it all. That same statement states that Exxon Mobil distributed $29 billion to shareholders. To be accurate, then, Exxon only "pocketed" $12 billion, giving the rest of it to shareholders in one form or another.
To put these large numbers into perspective, note that the corporation took in $486 billion in total revenue, making the $41 billion amount to a 8.4% profit margin. That number puts them only a little above the current industry average of 7.9%, which is pretty much middle of the pack compared to other industries*.