New Statistics on the Activities of U.S. Multinational Enterprises are Now Available

Detailed statistics on the worldwide activities of U.S. multinational enterprises in 2014, including the finances and operations of U.S. parent companies and their foreign affiliates, are now available from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Available on BEA’s website, the statistics offer information about U.S. multinational enterprises (MNEs) including: balance sheet and income statement details; employment and employee compensation; sales; value added (a measure of the enterprise’s contribution to gross domestic product in the United States and in the other countries where it operates); capital expenditures; trade in goods; and spending on research and development.

The statistics can be used to measure the scale of the global business activity of U.S. MNEs, as well as their impact on the U.S. economy and on other countries’ economies.

Here are a few highlights from the 2014 data:

  • The activities of U.S. MNEs in 2014 remained concentrated in the United States; U.S. parents accounted for more than two-thirds and foreign affiliates for less than one-third of the worldwide value added, capital expenditures, and R&D expenditures of U.S. MNEs.
  • MNE employment was slightly less concentrated in the United States, with U.S. parents accounting for 65.8 percent and foreign affiliates accounting for 34.2 percent.
  • Most foreign affiliates were located in high-income countries in 2014. Affiliates in these countries accounted for 75.9 percent of foreign affiliate value added.
  • The operations of U.S. MNEs are dominated by very large (greater than 10,000 employees) companies. These companies accounted for 68.4 percent of MNE value added and 75.9 percent of MNE employment. In terms of counts, however, almost half of U.S. MNEs were small (maximum of 500 employees) companies.

An article in the December edition of the Survey of Current Business, BEA’s online journal, will feature the statistics.

The preliminary data are based on the 2014 Benchmark Survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad.  Benchmark surveys, which are conducted every five years (in lieu of the annual survey), are BEA’s most comprehensive surveys – in terms of both the coverage of companies and the amount of information that is collected. Consequently, the increase in most U.S. MNE activities from 2013 to 2014 largely reflects the improved coverage of these activities in the 2014 Benchmark Survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad.

The newly released statistics also include revised statistics on the activities of U.S. MNEs in 2013.

BEA also produces statistics that cover U.S. affiliates of foreign multinational enterprises. These statistics were released earlier this year in August.


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