SelectUSA Professional Services Industry
Professional services firms in the United States generated $2 trillion in combined revenue in 2019, a 5 percent increase from 2018 (these figures exclude notaries). In 2020, the U.S. professional services industry included 9.5 million jobs spread out over 1.3 million firms. In 2019, North America was the largest region in the professional services market, accounting for 36 percent of the global market share. The world’s leading professional services companies are located in the United States to serve the large and dynamic U.S. corporate sector.
The United States features a transparent, stable regulatory environment, strong intellectual property rights protection and enforcement, and a reliable judicial system. Together with a highly skilled workforce and intellectual leadership from the boardroom to the classroom, demand for professional services in the United States is unrivaled. Foreign direct investment in the professional services industry reached $195 billion in 2019, and it directly supported 422,000 U.S. jobs in 2018.
Firms in this subsector provided payroll services, financial auditing services, tax preparation services, and other consulting services for individuals and corporate clients. As of 2017, there were 133,427 establishments in this subsector, and the latest employment figures estimate over 1 million professionals by the end of 2020. As of 2019, foreign direct investment accounted for $289 million in the accounting industry, and 2018 calculations estimated 2,300 workers in the industry were employed by foreign-owned businesses.
The accounting industry employs 326,810 accountants and auditors earning an average annual wage of $83,460, making this occupation the largest in the industry. The second-most common occupations in the industry are bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks (109,800 employees earning an average annual wage of $43,600) and tax preparers (64,420 employees earning an average annual wage of $49,230).
The architectural and engineering services subsector includes firms primarily engaged in planning and design of residential, institutional, leisure, commercial and industrial buildings and structures, as well as companies focused on commercial and institutional architecture, transportation infrastructure, and power generation and distribution activities. The engineering services firms are especially engaged in the design, development, and utilization of machines, materials, instruments, structures, processes, and systems. Engineering services include the preparation of feasibility studies and preliminary and final plans and designs, the provision of technical advice and assistance during the construction or installation phase, and the inspection and evaluation of engineering projects.
In 2017, there were 113,882 establishments in the architectural and engineering services industry, and the latest employment numbers estimate over 1.5 million workers employed in this industry at the end of 2020. Foreign direct investment contributed $21.5 billion in the architectural and engineering services industry in 2019, and an estimated 78,200 jobs were directly supported by foreign direct investment in 2018, contributing to 5 percent of employment in the industry that year.
The three most common occupations in the industry in 2019 were civil engineers (168,270 employees earning an average annual wage of $96,400); architects, except landscape and naval (90,840 employees earning an average annual wage of $88,970); and architectural and civil drafters (72,820 employees earning an average annual wage of $58,220).
Firms in this sector provided a variety of legal services including litigation support, general corporate services, plaintiff and defense work for individuals and companies, patent agent services, paralegal services, and process serving services. In 2017, there were an estimated 186,533 establishments in the legal services industry, and the latest employment figures estimate over 1.1 million employees in the industry at the end of 2020.
The legal services industry employed 403,110 lawyers in 2019, making lawyers the largest occupation in the industry. Lawyers earned an average annual wage of $150,410 in the legal services industry that same year. The other two most common occupations in the industry in 2019 were paralegals and legal assistants (254,830 employees earning an average annual wage of $52,910) and legal secretaries and administrative assistants (139,900 employees earning an average annual wage of $51,090).
Firms in the management consulting industry provide consulting services in administrative and general management; human resources; marketing; process, physical distribution, and logistics; environmental; and other scientific and technical services. There were 175,491 establishments in the industry in 2017, and there were an estimated 1.5 million employees in the industry at the end of 2020. Foreign direct investment contributed $37.2 billion to the management consulting industry in 2019, and 85,900 people were employed by foreign-owned businesses in the industry in 2018 (6 percent of total employees in the management consulting industry for that year).
The most common occupation in the management consulting industry is general and operations managers. There were 76,040 people employed as general and operations managers in the industry 2019, and they earned an average annual wage of $156,170. The second-most common occupation is market research analysts and marketing specialists (75,520 employees earning an average annual wage of $68,770), followed by costumer service representatives (62,470 employees earning an average of $39,480).
Explore the impact of foreign direct investment on U.S. jobs, exports, and innovation in the professional services industry.
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