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How Do Corporate Inversions Affect the International and National Economic Accounts?

Recently, a growing number of articles in the media have noted U.S. corporations announcing that they intend to move their headquarters overseas.  This practice is known as a corporate inversion, which occurs when a U.S. corporation that is currently the ultimate owner of its worldwide operations takes steps to become a wholly owned subsidiary of a foreign corporation.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has published a BEA Briefing in the Survey of Current Business that discusses how corporate inversions can affect major aggregates in the international and national economic accounts, including an estimate of the size of the impact of inversions on related BEA statistics.

Below are some highlights from the Briefing. For the full analysis and to view the impact of inversions on activities of multinational enterprises (AMNE) statistics see the BEA Briefing.

International Statistics

  • The foreign direct investment position in the United States—which comprises the direct investors’ equity in, and net outstanding loans to, their U.S. affiliates—generally increases after an inversion because the inverting U.S. corporation becomes an asset of a foreign investor.
  • The measures of multinational enterprise activities—which include data items such as employment, capital expenditures, value added, and research and development (R&D) expenditures—also generally increase as a result of inversions.
  • Corporate inversions may also affect BEA’s U.S. direct investment abroad, or outward direct investment, statistics if the U.S. multinational enterprise transfers the ownership of some or all of its foreign affiliates to its new foreign owner.

National Statistics

  • Corporate inversions would generally reduce gross national income, that is, income resulting from the current production of goods and services by U.S.-owned labor and capital.
  • Corporate profits, the portion of the total gross national income earned from current production that is accounted for by U.S. corporations, would also generally be reduced by inversions.

Gross domestic income, which is income resulting from the current production of goods and services in the domestic economy, would not be affected by inversions.

BEA Constantly Innovates to Produce New Statistics Measuring the U.S. Economy

bea_logo_0The Bureau of Economic Analysis is producing new economic statistics over the course of this year that offer businesses and households additional tools to make informed decisions and illustrate BEA’s innovative approach to better measure the dynamic U.S. economy.

Arts and Culture Statistics: These new annual statistics, released on Jan. 12, show the impact of arts and culture on the U.S. economy. The new data provides detailed information on spending on arts and culture as well as employment in those industries.

Health Care Statistics: BEA released data on Jan. 22 that — for the first time — provides information about the changes in prices to treat different diseases — illustrating trends in prices from 2000 through 2010. BEA also released new statistics on spending to treat different medical conditions for those same years. Data for 2011 and 2012 will be released in the spring.

• State Economic Activity: BEA on Sept. 2 will start releasing on a regular basis new quarterly statistics detailing economic activity in each state. The data offers a more up-to-date picture of how the states economies are faring and provides a more detailed view of economic activity across the entire United States.

• Consumer Spending by State:  BEA will begin producing these new annual statistics on a regular basis starting Dec. 1.  The data shows how much consumers spend in each state and provides details on the kinds of goods and services they buy.

New International Investment Statistics: These statistics, which BEA plans to release later this year, provides information on “greenfield” investment – investment that occurs when a foreign firm establishes a new U.S. business or expands an existing one by building a new plant or facility.

While each of these new statistics target different pieces of the U.S. economy, they all demonstrate BEA’s innovative approach to economic measurement. The first four examples leverage existing sets of source data in new ways to provide additional insight into the workings of the U.S. economy. The last item represents a new data collection effort that will pave the way for a new set of statistics on foreign investment.

Other innovations at BEA will allow more regional economic statistics to be released.

The new data provides businesses with more tools to make decisions about hiring and investment and can aid individuals looking to relocate for a job or to find a new job.

These new estimates are just a few of the ways that BEA is innovating to better measure the 21st Century economy. Providing businesses and individuals with new data tools like these is a priority of the Commerce Department’s “Open for Business Agenda.”

December 2014 Trade Gap is $46.6 Billion

The U.S. monthly international trade deficit increased in December 2014 according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau.  The deficit increased from $39.8 billion in November (revised) to $46.6 billion in December, as exports decreased and imports increased. The previously published November deficit was $39.0 billion. The goods deficit increased $6.9 billion from November to $66.0 billion in December. The services surplus increased $0.1 billion from November to $19.5 billion in December.

Monthly Balance on Goods and Services Trade Feb5

Exports of goods and services decreased $1.5 billion in December to $194.9 billion, reflecting a decrease in exports of goods. Exports of services increased.

  • The decrease in exports of goods was more than accounted for by a decrease in industrial supplies and materials. An increase in capital goods was partly offsetting.
  • The increase in exports of services reflected increases in transport, which includes freight and port services and passenger fares, in financial services, and in travel (for all purposes including education).

Imports of goods and services increased $5.3 billion in December to $241.4 billion, mostly reflecting an increase in imports of goods. Imports of services also increased.

  • The increase in imports of goods mostly reflected increases in industrial supplies and materials and in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines.
  • The increase in imports of services mostly reflected increases in transport and in travel (for all purposes including education).

Goods by geographic area (seasonally adjusted, Census basis)

  • The goods deficit with Canada increased from $1.6 billion in November (revised) to $3.3 billion in December. Exports decreased $0.8 billion to $25.8 billion and imports increased $0.9 billion to $29.0 billion.
  • The goods surplus with South and Central America decreased from $4.3 billion in November to $2.6 billion in December. Exports decreased $0.7 billion $14.8 billion and imports increased $1.0 billion to $12.2 billion.
  • The goods deficit with Germany decreased from $6.3 billion in November to $5.6 billion in December. Exports increased $0.1 billion to $3.9 billion and imports decreased $0.6 billion to $9.6 billion.

Read the full report.