November 18, 2022

Worldwide employment by U.S. multinational enterprises (MNEs) decreased 1.8 percent to 42.4 million workers in 2020 from 43.2 million workers in 2019.

Employment of U.S. Parents by Industry 2020

Highlights of the statistics on employment by U.S. parents in 2020:

  • Employment in the United States by U.S. parents decreased 2.2 percent to 28.4 million workers in 2020. U.S. parents accounted for 67.0 percent of worldwide employment by U.S. MNEs, down from 67.3 percent in 2019.
  • U.S. parents accounted for 23.1 percent of total private industry employment in the United States.
  • The manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share of employment by U.S. parents (26.1 percent), followed by retail trade (21.1 percent). The “other industries” category, which includes accommodation and food services and transportation and warehousing, accounted for 22.9 percent of U.S. parent employment.

Highlights of the statistics on employment by majority-owned foreign affiliates (MOFAs) in 2020:

  • Employment abroad by MOFAs of U.S. MNEs decreased 1.0 percent to 14.0 million workers and accounted for 33.0 percent of employment by U.S. MNEs worldwide.
  • Employment abroad by MOFAs was largest in the United Kingdom, India, Mexico, China, and Canada.
  • In the United Kingdom, employment by MOFAs was largest in retail trade and manufacturing. In India, employment was largest in professional, scientific, and technical services. In Mexico and China, it was largest in manufacturing. Employment by MOFAs in Canada was spread across several industries.
Employment of Majority-Owned Foreign Affiliates by Country 2020

Other highlights of the statistics on the activities of U.S. multinational enterprises in 2020:

  • Worldwide current-dollar value added of U.S. MNEs decreased 9.0 percent to $5.1 trillion. Value added by U.S. parents, a measure of their direct contribution to U.S. gross domestic product, decreased 9.9 percent to $3.8 trillion, representing 20.8 percent of total U.S. private-industry value added. MOFA value added decreased 6.4 percent to $1.3 trillion.
  • Worldwide expenditures for property, plant, and equipment of U.S. MNEs decreased 9.7 percent to $833.1 billion.
  • Worldwide research and development expenditures of U.S. MNEs increased 3.2 percent to $420.2 billion.

Most of the key indicators included in the U.S MNE statistics decreased in 2020 resulting in part from the impact of COVID-19. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the statistics because the impacts are generally embedded in source data (BEA direct investment surveys) and cannot be separately identified. The response rates for the surveys were consistent with those in periods before the pandemic. No special adjustments to BEA’s imputation and estimation procedures were necessary.

For more information, read the full release.