By Maureen Book, Research Analyst, SelectUSA
SelectUSA released its second industry-focused report: “High-Tech Industries: The Role of FDI in Driving Innovation and Growth” on Sept. 19. This report provides an in-depth look at high-tech clusters in the United States, and gives the first-ever analysis of the role of foreign direct investment (FDI) in high-tech industries. The report’s biggest takeaway is that FDI plays a significant role in these industries.
Where are high-tech clusters?
High-tech industries have a concentration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and employ more than twice that of the national average. After analyzing the U.S. high-tech industry and considering participation of both foreign and domestic firms, SelectUSA explored the geography of high-tech companies in the United States by state, to identify large groups, or clusters, of employment. The top employers of high-tech workers were California, Texas, and New York, while the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Washington boast the highest employment per capita of high-tech jobs.
High-Tech Clusters by Metro Area
Looking at metro areas with the highest concentration of high-tech employment, SelectUSA found that San Jose, Calif., tops the list with more than 34 percent of local employment in high-tech industries. They were followed closely by Elkhart, Ind., with nearly 33 percent, and Huntsville, Ala., with more than 31 percent. While the concentration in San Jose might not be surprising because it is the largest city in the Silicon Valley area, Elkhart and Huntsville both have industry concentrations nearby to make them important locations for high-tech companies. Elkhart’s economy is heavily concentrated in the transportation equipment manufacturing industry, and centers around recreational and commercial vehicle manufacturing. Huntsville is home to many aerospace and defense contractors, and military technology firms.
The Role of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
The data cited is provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Using our definition of high-tech industries and data published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, SelectUSA looked at the role that FDI plays in high-tech industries. For those not familiar with the terminology, FDI generally captures a long-term relationship with the management of a foreign enterprise, which is usually linked with the real output of the country in which it operates. There are three main indicators of additional contribution to the U.S. economy that FDI makes beyond just investment dollars and employment: amount spent on research and development (R&D) activities, how much contributed to U.S. goods exports, and contributions to value-add. Value-add is defined essentially as a GDP measurement, or how much one industry contributes to GDP. Unlike gross output, value-add does not measure the value of intermediate goods produced by the high-tech sector, only the final goods.
Our data found that FDI stock in high-tech industries reached more than $1.6 trillion in 2016, and supported 2.1 million jobs in the United States. In fact, the high-tech component of FDI is quite robust; nearly 44 percent of all FDI in the United States is invested in high-tech industries.
Source Markets Supporting High-Tech
We also find that Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Japan are among the largest source markets for R&D spending, exports, and value-added activities in high-tech industries. Beyond that, they are also several of the United States’ leading trading partners. Collaborating with them on FDI reinforces the trade relationship and strengthens our nation’s bilateral ties with these partners.
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