Activities of U.S. Multinational Enterprises, 2021
Worldwide employment by U.S. multinational enterprises (MNEs) increased 1.1 percent to 43.3 million workers in 2021 (preliminary) from 42.9 million workers in 2020 (revised), according to statistics released today by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on the operations and finances of U.S. parent companies and their foreign affiliates.
Employment in the United States by U.S. parents increased 2.2 percent to 29.5 million workers in 2021 (table 1). U.S. parents accounted for 68.1 percent of worldwide employment by U.S. MNEs, up from 67.4 percent in 2020 (chart 1). Employment abroad by majority-owned foreign affiliates of U.S. MNEs decreased 1.2 percent to 13.8 million workers and accounted for 31.9 percent of employment by U.S. MNEs worldwide.
U.S. parents accounted for 23.1 percent of total private industry employment in the United States in 2021, down from 23.5 percent in 2020, as total private industry employment rose more than U.S. parent employment. Employment by U.S. parents was largest in manufacturing and in retail trade. Employment abroad by majority-owned foreign affiliates was largest in India, Mexico, and the United Kingdom (table 4).
Worldwide current-dollar value added of U.S. MNEs increased 25.4 percent to $6.6 trillion. Value added by U.S. parents, a measure of their direct contribution to U.S. gross domestic product, increased 27.7 percent to $5.1 trillion (table 1). U.S parents accounted for 24.4 percent of total U.S. private-industry value added, up from 21.3 percent in 2020. Majority-owned foreign affiliate value added increased 18.6 percent to $1.6 trillion (chart 2). Value added by majority-owned foreign affiliates was largest in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Ireland (table 3).
Worldwide expenditures for property, plant, and equipment of U.S. MNEs increased 7.2 percent to $917.4 billion. Expenditures by U.S. parents accounted for $728.8 billion (table 1), and expenditures by majority-owned foreign affiliates accounted for $188.6 billion (chart 2).
Worldwide research and development expenditures of U.S. MNEs increased 10.7 percent to $472.6 billion. U.S. parents accounted for expenditures of $402.7 billion, and majority-owned foreign affiliates accounted for $69.9 billion (chart 2).
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.
Updates to the statistics
Statistics for 2020 were revised to incorporate newly available and revised source data. Preliminary statistics for 2020 were released in November 2022 and highlighted in “Activities of U.S. Multinational Enterprises in 2020” in the December 2022 Survey of Current Business.
|Number of employees (thousands)||28,440.4||28,893.3||14,007.6||13,976.0|
|Expenditures for property, plant, and equipment||651.9||676.3||181.2||179.6|
|Research and development expenditures||361.2||367.6||59.1||59.3|
|U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis|
Activities of U.S. Multinational Enterprises, 2022