International companies are among the most successful businesses in the world, having proven their mettle in their home markets, outperforming competitors, and then moving on to compete on the global stage. Along the way, these companies and their management have accumulated invaluable institutional knowledge, industry know-how, and refined senses of management best practices. They have learned how to get the most from their human, physical and financial capital. When these companies invest in the United States, they “import” this knowledge and these best practices.
Tables 3 and 4 include variables that speak to the aggregate economic performance of international companies and the broader economy. How much value added are they creating? How much revenue are they generating? Is that revenue being generated in a sustainable way—by consuming more inputs of labor, materials, and overhead (rather than by charging higher prices), and by integrating operations into the broader economy? Are the companies focused on cultivating markets, not only in the United States, but abroad?
Between 2001 and 2015, international companies as a whole increased their:
- Contribution to U.S. GDP from $434 billion to $895 billion, or by 58.7 percent in real terms.
- Sales revenues from $2.2 trillion to $4.0 trillion, or by 37.4 percent in real terms.
- Cost of goods sold from $1.6 trillion to $3.3 trillion, or by 67.2 percent.
- Value of U.S. exports from $145.5 billion to $352.8 billion, or by 86.5 percent in real terms.
- Increased value added per worker in the United States from $75 billion to $131 billion, or by 34.2 percent in real terms.
With respect to these performance metrics, the relative importance of international companies to U.S. manufacturing is even more pronounced.
Between 2001 and 2015 international manufacturers increased their:
- Contribution to U.S. manufacturing-sector GDP from $201 billion to $409 billion, or by 64.4 percent in real terms.
- Sales revenues from $817 billion to $ 2.0 trillion, or by 65.5 percent in real terms.
- Cost of goods sold from $718 billion to $1.7 trillion, or by 93.5 percent in real terms.
- Value of U.S. exports from $89.8 billion to $201.9 billion, or by 81.2 percent in real terms.
International companies form a critical part of America’s economic bedrock—providing a stable foundation of excellence that strengthens our economy and supports our workforce.