A rising number of the world's largest economic units are companies, not countries, according to a recent analysis by The Conference Board.

The world's "top 100 economies" now include 47 industrial companies and 53 countries, compared with 39 industrial firms and 61 nations a decade ago. Companies are ranked according to their total sales and countries are ranked according to their gross national products.

The United States continues as the world's leading economy, followed by Japan, Germany, and France. The top 100 economies include 16 US firms, led by General Motors, Ford, Exxon, and IBM. Eleven Japanese corporations made the top-100 list.

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