There is no shortage of reasons why business investors choose the United States – from the business-friendly environment and quality of life considerations to specific technology, supply chain, infrastructure and workforce factors. The nation’s diversity and openness are what truly allow businesses from all countries and industries to find their place in the market – and thrive.
Discover why the United States is the top investment destination.
The United States offers the largest consumer market on earth with a GDP of $20 trillion and 325 million people. Household spending is the highest in the world, accounting for nearly a third of global household consumption. At the same time, free trade agreements with 20 other countries provide enhanced access to hundreds of millions of additional consumers – and the United States continues to work with companies to increase opportunities for U.S. exporters.
Opportunities in the U.S. Market
The U.S. consumer market is the most robust on the planet. In 2017, families purchased more than $13.3 trillion in goods and services, or more than a quarter of the entire world’s household consumption. According to the latest statistics, real (inflation adjusted) median household annual income in the United States exceeds $61,000.
The United States is a world leader in consumer goods market research, product innovation, manufacturing, and branding and marketing, and offers a highly skilled workforce. This lucrative open market is a powerful growth engine for companies of all sizes.
Opportunities in Global Markets
The United States is renowned for innovative goods and services, high standards of quality, customer service, and sound business practices – giving U.S. exports a unique competitive edge. U.S.-based businesses are connected with 20 additional countries through free trade agreements, providing enhanced access to over 790 million consumers. And the United States does not put up barriers: according to the World Bank, no other country has more rapid export procedures.
Global companies recognize the value offered by the United States as an export platform. The U.S. affiliates of foreign companies alone export US$370 billion worth of goods – more than a quarter of all U.S. goods exports.
The United States is consistently ranked among the best internationally for its overall competitiveness and ease of doing business. Backed by a regulatory environment that is particularly conducive to starting and operating a business, U.S. business culture encourages free enterprise and competition. As a stable democracy with a transparent and predictable legal system, all companies – regardless of national origin – compete on an even playing field.
Foreign direct investment has been central to the U.S. economy since the nation’s founding. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan issued the “Statement on International Investment Policy,” which stated that international investment that “responds to market forces” is “a vital and necessary ingredient in a stable, growing world economy.” Every president since has followed suit in committing to openness. This means that foreign investors receive non-discriminatory treatment in almost all sectors, and compete on an even playing field in the United States.
The U.S. workforce is diverse, skilled, innovative, and mobile – and U.S. workers are among the most productive in the world. In fact, U.S. workforce output per hour is more than 30 percent above the OECD member country average. Looking to the future, the United States has prioritized collaborative mechanisms with public and private-sector organizations to ensure that the workforce is able to meet the needs of a 21st-century economy.
The vast majority of U.S. labor laws focus on providing a fair and safe working environment for the U.S. workforce. State and local governments are often very helpful and willing to work with companies to help them understand regulations.
This program helps employers determine which major federal employment laws administered by the Department of Labor apply to their business or organization and how they must comply.
This government program promotes and establishes rules and compliance with labor standards to protect workforce welfare throughout the country.
Workforce Development Opportunities:
With free public K-12 education and one of the most advanced college and university networks in the world, the education system is the foundation of our competitive and skilled workforce. Over 40% of U.S. adults have completed a level of education beyond high school, contributing to the high levels of innovation in businesses and production lines.
By taking advantage of a wide range of flexible training and education options, U.S. workers equip themselves with the necessary knowledge and skills that businesses need. Federal, state, and local governments are working with companies to support job training programs for skilled workers, including state-of-the-art apprenticeship programs.
As the third-largest nation by geography, the United States is home to vast and varied landscapes with abundant natural resources. These diverse regions are connected by an expansive infrastructure network and services that help companies efficiently produce and move their products.
The United States offers independent, stable, and low-cost energy sources and is home to some of the largest supplies of petroleum, natural gas, and coal in the world. A diverse array of climates and geographies offer prime opportunities to harness renewable sources of energy, from wind to biodiesel. Coupled with increased energy efficiency, this diverse supply of energy not only contributes to U.S. GDP - it is leading to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Metals & Minerals
The United States is one of the largest global producers of the metals and minerals powering manufacturing – from precious metals such as gold and silver to copper, nickel, iron, lead, uranium, bauxite, mercury, tungsten, and zinc. The nation is also the leading producer and consumer of phosphates, a key ingredient in fertilizers used in agricultural production.
Forests are a treasured and unique resource endowment. The United States has over 750 million acres (roughly three million square kilometers) of forest lands – around two-thirds of which is timberland. U.S. timber production supports a wide range of industries from paper production to construction.
The nation’s land area comprises nearly 2.3 billion acres (around 9.3 billion square kilometers) – nearly half of which are agricultural lands. As a global leader in agricultural innovation, the United States is the world’s largest producer and exporter of food, offering a wide range of opportunities for food and processing agribusiness.
The United States hosts the most developed, liquid, flexible, and efficient financial markets in the world. Access to capital is an important reason businesses choose to invest in the U.S. market, where a wide range of funding sources – from banks and investment firms to venture capitalists and angel investors – enable business innovation and expansion. Learn more about federal financing resources.
Wide Ranging Sources of Capital
Companies operating in the United States – from individual entrepreneurs with a dream to established businesses expanding their local physical presence – have access to a wide range of short- and long-term investment sources. Unlike in many other markets, capital investors in the United States are typically not involved in the day-to-day management or operations of the organizations they are funding. Sources of funding for businesses operating in the United States include:
The U.S. banking system supports the world’s largest economy with the greatest diversity in banking institutions and concentration of private credit. At the end of 2018, the U.S. banking system had over $17 trillion in assets.
- Commercial banks in the United States offer retail and commercial financial services to companies of all sizes – and while these banks are not government-owned or managed, they are regulated by the federal or state governments according to their charters.
- Investment banks in the United States provide strategic guidance on raising capital for greenfield investments and mergers and acquisitions, in addition to offering other advisory services such as valuation and due diligence. These institutions help secure funding for businesses through stock offerings, bond issues, or securities/derivative trades. Investment banks are regulated by Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission, which offers an investment adviser database.
U.S. private equity firms invested $685 billion in U.S.-based companies in 2018. Private equity comprises a broad range of securities and debt that are not publicly traded on a stock exchange. One of the most popular private equity mechanisms is venture capital (VC), a type of financing for small, entrepreneurial companies:
The VC industry was born in the United States, which remains the most attractive VC market in the world.
In 2018 alone, venture-backed companies received $131 billion in funding, the largest amount since the dot-com era of the early 2000s.
Alternative private equity funding mechanisms – be they large angel investments by individual or small groups of investors, or crowdfunded small investments – are also attracting growing interest, particularly among smaller innovators.
INFORMATION, SERVICES, AND TOOLS FOR INVESTORS
The United States is home to the most innovative and productive companies in the world, forming a diverse and competitive group of industry sectors. The U.S. industries highlighted here are exceptionally dynamic and represent key opportunities for global growth and success.
Explore the data, trends, and federal resources behind these thriving U.S. industries.