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New Foreign Direct Investment in the United States, 2020

Summary:
Expenditures by foreign direct investors to acquire, establish, or expand U.S. businesses totaled 0.7 billion (preliminary) in 2020. Expenditures were down 45.4 percent from 1.2 billion (revised) in 2019 and below the annual average of 4.4 billion for 2014-2019. As in previous years, acquisitions of existing businesses accounted for a large majority of total expenditures. In 2020, expenditures for acquisitions were 6.3 billion, expenditures to establish new U.S. businesses were .9 billion, and expenditures to expand existing foreign-owned businesses were .4 billion. Planned total expenditures, which include both first-year and planned future expenditures, were 5.8 billion. Expenditures by industry, country, and state in 2020 By industry, expenditures for new direct

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Expenditures by foreign direct investors to acquire, establish, or expand U.S. businesses totaled $120.7 billion (preliminary) in 2020. Expenditures were down 45.4 percent from $221.2 billion (revised) in 2019 and below the annual average of $314.4 billion for 2014-2019. As in previous years, acquisitions of existing businesses accounted for a large majority of total expenditures.

New Foreign Direct Investment in the United States, 2020

In 2020, expenditures for acquisitions were $116.3 billion, expenditures to establish new U.S. businesses were $1.9 billion, and expenditures to expand existing foreign-owned businesses were $2.4 billion. Planned total expenditures, which include both first-year and planned future expenditures, were $135.8 billion.

Expenditures by industry, country, and state in 2020

By industry, expenditures for new direct investment were largest in manufacturing, at $63.3 billion, accounting for 52.4 percent of total expenditures. Within manufacturing, expenditures were largest in chemical manufacturing ($26.9 billion) and computers and electronic products ($14.8 billion). There were also notable expenditures in information ($17.4 billion), primarily telecommunications.

By country of ultimate beneficial owner (UBO), the largest investing country was Germany, with expenditures of $20.5 billion. Canada ($15.2 billion) was the second largest country, followed by Switzerland ($13.8 billion). By region, Europe contributed two-thirds of new investment in 2020.

By U.S. state, Texas received the largest investment, with expenditures of $18.6 billion, followed by California ($17.8 billion) and New Jersey ($14.1 billion).

Greenfield expenditures

Greenfield investment expenditures—expenditures to either establish a new U.S. business or to expand an existing foreign-owned U.S. business—were $4.4 billion in 2020. Total planned expenditures until completion for greenfield investment initiated in 2020, which include both first-year and future expenditures, were $19.5 billion.

By U.S. industry, greenfield expenditures in 2020 were largest in manufacturing ($1.3 billion) and utilities ($1.1 billion). By region of UBO, Europe ($2.2 billion) and Asia and Pacific ($1.7 billion) had the largest expenditures. By U.S. state, Texas received the highest level of greenfield investment ($1.0 billion).

Employment by newly acquired, established, or expanded foreign-owned businesses

In 2020, employment at newly acquired, established, or expanded foreign-owned businesses in the United States was 197,500 employees. Current employment of acquired enterprises was 194,000. Total planned employment, which includes the current employment of acquired enterprises, the planned employment of newly established business enterprises when fully operational, and the planned employment associated with expansions, was 206,500.

By industry, retail trade accounted for the largest number of employees (between 50,000 and 100,000)1 followed by manufacturing (30,900), primarily chemical manufacturing. By country of UBO, Canada accounted for the largest number of employees (112,400), followed by the United Kingdom (10,100) and the United Kingdom Islands in the Caribbean, which include the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands (7,400).

By U.S. state, Texas had the largest employment (between 50,000 and 100,000), followed by California (21,000) and Arizona (9,300). Employment for an acquired entity that operated in multiple states is attributed to the state in which it had the greatest number of employees.

Updates to 2019 Expenditures for New Foreign Direct Investment in the United States
Billions of dollars

  Previously Published Estimate Revised Estimate
First-year expenditures 194.7 221.2
    U.S. businesses acquired 190.7 215.8
    U.S. businesses established 2.5 2.7
    U.S. businesses expanded 1.5 2.6
Planned total expenditures 203.6 233.5
    U.S. businesses acquired 190.7 215.8
    U.S. businesses established 7.5 8.6
    U.S. businesses expanded 5.4 9.1

Next release: July 2022
New Foreign Direct Investment in the United States, 2021


1 Size ranges are provided for employment values that are suppressed to ensure the confidentiality of survey responses.

Bureau of Economic Analysis
The BEA Advisory Committee advises the Director of BEA on matters related to the development and improvement of BEA’s national, regional, industry, and international economic accounts, especially in areas of new and rapidly growing economic activities arising from innovative and advancing technologies, and provides recommendations from the perspectives of the economics profession, business, and government.

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