Foreign investment drives California manufacturing jobs, according to 5th annual FDI Report from WTCLA

Over 730,000 direct jobs in California are at foreign-owned firms, according the World Trade Center LA 2020 FDI report, underscoring how important FDI and international connections are to the state’s economy.

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Foreign investment drives California manufacturing jobs, according to 5th Annual FDI Report from World Trade Center Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, CA (May 26, 2020) — The World Trade Center Los Angeles (WTCLA) today released the report Foreign Direct Investment in California, 2020, assessing the positive employment impact of foreign-owned enterprises in the state and its various regions. The report was created in partnership with the California Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Loyola Marymount University’s Center for International Business.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and in particular Foreign-Owned Enterprises (FOEs) are a major contributor to employment in the state, and WTCLA’s analysis found that 13.5% of all manufacturing jobs in the state (84,451 jobs) are attributed to FOEs, with significant employment in other industries as well.

The report provides deep analysis of jobs, wages, and regional distribution of FDI in the state:

· In total, there are approximately 19,000 firms in California that have foreign ownership, employing approximately 731,000 residents, or 4.9 percent of the state’s employment. Those workers earned $65.6 billion in wages last year (2019).

· The top five countries whose business investments generate employment in California are; Japan (3,880 firms and 121,220 jobs), UK (2,303 firms and 105,860 jobs), France (1,888 firms and 69,460 jobs), Canada (1,583 firms and 61,840 jobs), and Germany (1,535 firms and 61,040 jobs).

The ten counties of Southern California capture the lion’s share of FDI in the state, as home to 60.8 percent of Californian FOEs and 63.2 percent of Californians employed by those FOEs. The fifteen county Bay Area is home to 31.4 percent of Californian FOEs and FOE employment, and the remaining FOEs and FOE employment are spread across the other 23 counties of the Greater California region.

The report also looks at FOE employment in specific industry sectors, including manufacturing, trade, transportation, information, services, and financial activities.

Across the state, retail trade, wholesale trade and manufacturing are the top industries for FOEs, with 4,109, 2,975 and 2,882 firms, respectively. Manufacturing, however, is by far the #1 source of employment provided by FOEs in California, accounting for over a third of FOE jobs and 36.2 percent ($23.7 billion) of all wages paid. Japanese FOEs employ the most people in manufacturing, employing over 30,000 Californians. Ranked by total overall FOE jobs, the manufacturing sector is followed by Professional/Business Services, and Wholesale Trade.

“In a year of incredible flux, we are seeing foreign investment into California slow, but opportunities related to the pandemic are developing every day as international companies consider adding operations here to supply the US, and California specifically, with health-related technology and products. Attracting and supporting FDI from this industry, for example, can create resilient economic structures that assist with the recovery phase and better prepare the state for future crises. We hope this report provides context when creating and implementing FDI strategies for a variety of industries,” said Michael Smith, WTCLA’s Director of International Trade. “During times of crisis, international

capital seeks out safe markets and California is one of the best bets in the USA, but a proactive approach is pivotal to capturing its benefits.”

The WTCLA report is typically released at the Select LA Investment Summit, Southern California’s premier international trade event that brings together hundreds of global investors with business and governmental leaders from Southern California. However, this year’s event has been postponed until a future date yet to be determined. More information about the summit will be available on the WTCLA website. As the recipient of the International Economic Development Council’s (IEDC) 2017 Silver Award for Outstanding Event, Select LA is an essential platform for businesses seeking to secure foreign direct investment (FDI) opportunities and gain exclusive insights into market trends and deal flow throughout the Los Angeles region.

Learn more about the Select LA Summit at


The World Trade Center Los Angeles (WTCLA) works to make Los Angeles the nation’s leading center for international trade and foreign investment. WTCLA provides business assistance to international companies seeking to locate or expand operations in Los Angeles, and to local companies seeking to export products and services to the international market. As the leading international trade service and promotion organization in the Los Angeles region, WTCLA supports the development of international trade and business opportunities through our business assistance, educational and matchmaking programs. WTCLA has led or assisted in the attraction of more than $1 billion of foreign investment into Los Angeles County. The WTCLA is an affiliate of the nonprofit Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC).

Media Contact: Lawren Markle

[email protected] / 213.236.4847

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