FORTUNE magazine has released the FORTUNE 500 (, its annual ranking of the largest corporations in the United States, ranked by revenue for the 2011 fiscal year. Apple comes in at 17th on the list, up from number 35 in 2011.

The combined earnings of the FORTUNE 500 companies increased 16.4% from last year to reach a record high of US$824.5 billion in 2011, breaking the previous record of $785 billion, which was set in 2006 during a robust economy.

“Given the sluggish recovery and a strapped consumer, you’d expect to see corporate America trudging along, not racing for glory,” FORTUNE’s Shawn Tully writes. “In fact, the Fortune 500 are thriving as a group. Unlike the U.S. economy, they’ve shown quicksilver agility, rapidly shifting their product mix and producing more goods at little new cost.”

Exxon Mobil edges out Wal-Mart and reclaims the number one spot with $453 billion in revenues, while General Motors jumps three places to number five on the list. It is the 13th time that Exxon has taken first place and the sixth time that Exxon Mobil and Wal-Mart have traded the top two positions during the past decade. Exxon Mobile led the 500 with $41.1 billion in earnings, up 35% over the previous year. Rounding out the top 10 are: Chevron, ConocoPhillips, General Motors, General Electric, Berkshire Hathaway, Fannie Mae, Ford Motor, and Hewlett-Packard.

Here’s what FORTUNE has to say about Apple: “Apple boosted earnings by 85%, to $25.9 billion, helped by two of the best selling consumer products in history, the iPhone and the iPad, which together generated $67 billion in sales, more than double the figure in 2010. Microsoft also enjoyed a banner year, lifting earnings by 23%, to $23.2 billion. Swelling its results were a 48% gain in sales on its Xbox 360, the best selling video game console, and a 23% jump in its profits from business software and services.”