Obama touts surge in foreign investment

@CNNMoney June 20, 2011: 2:26 PM ET

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) -- Foreign companies plowed 49% more money into the U.S. economy in 2010 compared with the prior year, the Obama administration said Monday.

And 90% of that foreign investment came from Canada, Europe and Japan. Less than 1% came from China.

"The United States consistently receives more foreign direct investment than any other country in the world," President Obama said in a statement. "By voting with their balance sheets, businesses from abroad have clearly stated that the United States is one of the best places in the world to invest."

Foreign firms invested $194 billion in the United States in 2010. The peak was in 2008, when foreign investment in the United States soared to $328 billion, according to the Commerce Department.

Overall, foreign-owned firms spent $670 billion on goods and services in the United States, nearly 6% of total U.S. private output, the White House said.

Concentrated in the manufacturing sector,foreign investment fueled two million jobs, according to a report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers that draws from Commerce Department figures.

Overall, foreign firms employed 5% of the U.S. workforce or 5.7 million workers.

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White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee said that Obama's jobs council, headed by General Electric (GE, Fortune 500) CEO Jeffrey Immelt, have pointed to foreign investment as a bright spot for U.S. economic growth.

"The study shows that the United States remains the most competitive and direct investment in the world," Goolsbee said. "That investment has had a great impact on the economy."

Overall, foreign-based companies that operate in the United States produced $670 billion in goods and services, accounting for 6% of total U.S. private output, the report said.

On average, jobs created by foreign investment pay more than $70,000 a year in salary, which is 30% higher than U.S. average pay, Goolsbee said.

In the years leading up to 2009, the United States had more than twice as much foreign investment than China, the report states. Figures for 2010 weren't available on foreign investment flows to other nations. To top of page

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