Fastest-growing companies in troubled industries

The recession hit certain industries harder than others, but a few crafty firms managed to overcome tough times.

Small and scrappy
Small and scrappy

Certain industries toppled at the top during the Great Recession. The major players in banking, pharma, and energy ran on outmoded business models that stifled growth during the downturn, and they suffered for it. But a lot of smaller companies in the same spaces came up with innovative strategies, and even in a slow recovery, they're growing like crazy.

To get a snapshot of these slower-growth industries, we ranked Fortune 500 companies by percentage change in revenue, profit, and year-over-year return. Then we categorized the companies by industry and listed the median number from their rankings to compare growth between different sectors.

What we got are five fast-growing companies that managed to beat a tough economy to come out on top.

By Shelley DuBois, reporter - Last updated September 13 2011: 8:10 AM ET
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The full list

Our annual roster of high performers reveals the promising saplings that are rising in a difficult economy and some stalwarts that deliver year after year.

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