Ten Cities Where Foreign Companies Create the Most Jobs

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10. Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Penn.-N.J.
> Pct. employees at foreign companies: 6.9%
> Total employment by foreign businesses: 20,776 (47th lowest)
> 2009-2012 annual export growth: 4.7% (28th lowest)
> 2012 total exports: $4.3 billion (27th lowest)

Foreign-owned businesses accounted for 6.9% of private employment in the Allentown metro area in 2011. Additionally, a large share of area jobs brought by foreign direct investment to the area came from newly opened businesses. While exports accounted for nearly 13% of the area’s output in 2012, more than most major metro areas, export growth has been weak in recent years. Between 2009 and 2012, exports grew by just 4.7% per year, lower than in nearly three-quarters of the 100 largest metro areas. Overall output grew at an even slower pace, just 1.3% per year, in that three-year period.

9. Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, S.C.
> Pct. employees at foreign companies: 7.2%
> Total employment by foreign businesses: 17,198 (44th lowest)
> 2009-2012 annual export growth: 12.2% (10th highest)
> 2012 total exports: $4.0 billion (24th lowest)

The share of private employment from foreign-owned companies in the Charleston area rose by 1.3 percentage points between 1991 and 2011, from 5.9% to 7.2%. Nearly 39% of these jobs were from foreign-owned businesses established through foreign direct investment made prior to 1991. This figure was exceptionally high, suggesting that foreign companies have been in the region for a long time. While approximately 25% of jobs in foreign-owned companies came from mergers and acquisitions since 1991, roughly 37% came from newly opened foreign businesses, among the highest rates in the country. The Charleston metro area recorded a 12.2% annual export growth rate between 2003 and 2012, more than all but a handful of metro areas.

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8. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
> Pct. employees at foreign companies: 7.3%
> Total employment by foreign businesses: 57,640 (15th highest)
> 2009-2012 annual export growth: 10.5% (15th highest)
> 2012 total exports: $34.6 billion (10th highest)

Roughly 40% of jobs in foreign-owned businesses within the San Jose metro area from foreign investments made through mergers and acquisitions activity since 1991. Given the prominence of Silicon Valley, it is not surprising that technology’s share of employment in the San Jose metro area led the nation, at 25.7% of all jobs as of 2011. Additionally, San Jose led the nation’s 100 largest metro areas in patents awarded with 9,237, or 10.29 patents per 1,000 workers. GDP per worker, a rough indicator of worker productivity, was the highest of any major metropolitan area in 2010 and 2011. Area exports have also been on the rise. Total exports rose by 10.5% on average in the three years between 2009 and 2012, among the faster growth rates in the nation.

7. Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, R.I.-Mass.
> Pct. employees at foreign companies: 7.5%
> Total employment by foreign businesses: 44,273 (27th highest)
> 2009-2012 annual export growth: 7.3% (39th highest)
> 2012 total exports: $8.8 billion (40th highest)

Employment in foreign-owned businesses in the Providence metro area jumped considerably in the last two decades, from 3.2% of all jobs in 1991 to 7.5% in 2011. Yet despite the considerable investment by foreign businesses, Providence’s economy is not especially vibrant. Between 2003 and 2012, the area’s economy grew at a compound rate of just 0.3% per year, among the slowest rates of any major city. Similarly, foreign investment did not seem to contribute to higher productivity, as Brookings’ Saha said it typically does. Worker productivity was relatively middling, at just over $91,000 per worker in 2011. Additionally, just 10% of the population had a bachelor’s degree in a lucrative science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) field, placing Providence just above the median for all large metro areas.

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6. Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich.
> Pct. employees at foreign companies: 7.8%
> Total employment by foreign businesses: 124,420 (10th highest)
> 2009-2012 annual export growth: 20.4% (2nd highest)
> 2012 total exports: $40.0 billion (8th highest)

The Detroit metro area has been a hotspot for foreign investment in recent decades, with foreign-owned enterprises accounting for 7.8% of private sector employment in 2011. Just over half of all employment by foreign-owned businesses came from companies that entered the Detroit economy through mergers and acquisitions conducted since 1991, the fourth highest such rate in the country. Exports have also been particularly strong, growing about 20% per year between 2009 and 2012, despite negative overall output growth during that time. The export share of total growth increased seven percentage points between 2003 and 2012, from 13% to 20.8%. A a resurgent automotive manufacturing sector has likely contributed much to export’s growth.