The role of United States-owned businesses in the United Kingdom
In 2019, US-owned businesses supported 1.48 million jobs across the UK. Almost 1 in every 20 UK workers, or 4.7% of all workers, worked for a US-owned business in 2019. Around 60% of all employment in US-owned local business units is outside of London and the South East. This suggests US investment is contributing to the UK’s levelling up agenda by supporting investment across the UK.
Of the nearly 1.5 million UK workers employed in US-owned businesses, 29% were employed in wholesale and retail trade, the largest of any industry. This was followed by 22% employed in scientific, technical and IT activities, 14% employed in the manufacturing industry and 9% in financial services.
US-owned businesses make a disproportionately positive contribution to the UK economy. US-owned local business units accounted for 1% of all local business units in the UK in 2019, but generated 11.4% of total business turnover. The number of US-owned local business units and employees in the UK have grown almost every year since 1997.
US investment supports local economies in every UK region. In 2019, US-owned local units employed workers across all regions of the UK.
London had the highest employment in US-owned local business units (355,000), followed by the South East (240,000) and the North West (133,000). Employment in US-owned local business units grew in every region between 1997 to 2019. The region with the largest increase in employment in US-owned local units was Northern Ireland, with a 211% increase. This was followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (158%) and the East Midlands (131%).
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