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October 2011, Vol. 134, No. 10
Domestic employment in U.S.-based multinational companies
Elizabeth Weber Handwerker, Mina M. Kim, and Lowell Mason
Elizabeth Weber Handwerker is a research economist in the Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Lowell Mason is an economist in the same office. Mina M. Kim is a research economist in the Office of Prices and Living Conditions. Email: email@example.com.
Establishments of multinational manufacturing firms in the United States are larger, are located disproportionately in the South, employ a disproportionate number of engineers, and pay higher wages, on average, than other U.S. establishments; these findings hold even after controlling for establishment industry, size, and age, and the interaction between industry and size.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) collects data on multinational companies based in the United States—firms that have full or partial ownership of affiliate companies in foreign countries. However, BEA data offer little detail on the characteristics of these firms' U.S. employment. Identifying such firms in BLS data can show the geographic, occupation, and wage distributions of their employees in the United States. The popular media sometimes describe U.S. companies that make investments in companies overseas as "exporting good jobs," but there is little evidence on the domestic employment characteristics of these firms, either before or after their overseas investments have taken place.
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