U.S. Remains No. 1 Choice for Foreign Investment – New Stats Released

December 3, 2015

This is a guest blog by Vinai Thummalapally, Executive Director of SelectUSA.

On Monday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released highly-anticipated data highlighting new foreign direct investment (FDI) expenditures in the United States.

These statistics capture the story of new FDI into the United States in 2014 and introduce a perspective on FDI never before seen in official BEA statistics. Highlighting data like this is not only part of SelectUSA’s mission to facilitate and promote FDI into the United States but it also gives our business and policy leaders a quantitative look at how the United States maintains its title as the number one destination for FDI.

In the new set of data, BEA produced statistics that specify two types of new FDI: acquisitions and greenfield investments. Greenfield investments capture how much foreign investors are spending to establish and/or expand U.S. businesses. Last year, new FDI expenditures made by foreign investors acquiring, establishing, and expanding U.S. businesses totaled $241.3 billion while greenfield investments accounted for seven percent of that total, exceeding $16.5 billion. Acquisitions accounted for the majority of new investment expenditure, totaling $224.7 billion in 2014.

The new data helps build a narrative around specific industries and geographies of interest. For example, greenfield FDI in manufacturing was very strong, with expenditures totaling over $2.8 billion. These expenditures were second only to greenfield FDI in the real estate industry in 2014.

Looking forward, this data also shows statistics that capture planned greenfield investment for FDI projects that may continue into the future. These investments in U.S. manufacturing sector industries total $9.3 billion, more than three times the total amount invested in 2014. We also see that the U.S. manufacturing industry dominates new FDI investment: almost 60 percent of new foreign investor expenditures – $139.1 billion – went to manufacturing, a fact that echoes and reinforces the growing “manufacturing renaissance” here in the United States.

BEA’s comprehensive snapshot of new FDI is an excellent tool for economic developers, investors, and policymakers. This snapshot enhances our understanding of how FDI is interwoven into the U.S. economy. According to latest available 2013 figures, majority foreign-owned U.S. affiliates employed 6.1 million U.S. workers with an average annual wage of $79,979 and accounted for nearly 23 percent of all U.S. goods exports. Reports like these reaffirm the United States’ place as the number one destination for foreign direct investment in the global, interconnected, and competitive economy of the 21st century.



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