News Release

EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EDT, Friday, August 24, 2018
BEA 18-41

Activities of U.S. Multinational Enterprises: 2016

Worldwide employment by U.S. multinational enterprises (MNEs) increased 0.4 percent to 42.3 million workers (preliminary) in 2016 from 42.1 million (revised) in 2015, according to statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on the operations and finances of U.S. parent companies and their foreign affiliates.

Employment in the United States by U.S. parents was nearly unchanged at 28.0 million workers in 2016. U.S. parents accounted for 66.3 percent of worldwide employment by U.S. MNEs, a decrease of 0.3 percentage points from 2015. Employment abroad by majority-owned foreign affiliates (MOFAs) of U.S. MNEs increased 1.2 percent to 14.3 million workers and accounted for 33.7 percent of employment by U.S. MNEs worldwide.

Employment by U.S. MNEs

U.S. parents accounted for 22.3 percent of total private industry employment in the United States. Employment by U.S. parents was largest in manufacturing and retail trade. Employment abroad by MOFAs was largest in China, the United Kingdom, Mexico, India, and Canada.

Worldwide current-dollar value added of U.S. MNEs decreased 1.5 percent to $5.2 trillion. Value added by U.S. parents, a measure of their direct contribution to U.S. gross domestic product, was nearly unchanged at $3.9 trillion, representing 24.2 percent of total U.S. private industry value added. MOFA value added decreased to $1.3 trillion. Value added by MOFAs was largest in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Ireland.

Worldwide expenditures for property, plant, and equipment of U.S. MNEs decreased 7.6 percent to $856.9 billion. Expenditures by U.S. parents accounted for $657.5 billion and MOFA expenditures for $199.5 billion.

Worldwide research and development expenditures of U.S. MNEs increased 4.9 percent to $350.3 billion. U.S. parents accounted for expenditures of $296.9 billion and MOFAs for $53.5 billion.

Activities of U.S. MNEs

Additional statistics on the activities of U.S. parent companies and their foreign affiliates including sales, balance sheet and income statement items, compensation of employees, trade in goods, and more are available on BEA’s website. More industry detail for U.S. parents and more industry and country detail for foreign affiliates are also available on the website and will be published in the September issue of the Survey of Current Business.

Updates to the statistics

Statistics for 2015 are revised to incorporate newly available and revised source data. Preliminary statistics for 2015 were released in November 2017 and highlighted in “Activities of U.S. Multinational Enterprises in 2015” in the December 2017 issue of the Survey of Current Business.

Updates to Statistics on 2015 Activities of U.S. Multinational Enterprises Billions of dollars, except as noted
  U.S. Parents  MOFAs
Number of employees (thousands) 28,302.2 28,045.6 14,124.1 14,081.0
Value added 3,961.3 3,949.2 1,357.5 1,358.8
Expenditures for property, plant, and equipment 700.5 712.6 229.4 214.8
Research and development expenditures 284.3 277.8 54.8 56.1
Next release: August 2019
Activities of U.S. Multinational Enterprises: 2017