Foreign companies operating in the United States tend to be more resilient than domestic entities against vagaries of business cycles.  They also pay better than average and export more than their domestic counterparts.  Higher payrolls probably reflect a concentration of foreign investments in fast-growing sectors.

Domestic affiliates of foreign companies also distinguish themselves with their innovation.  Spending on R&D by these affiliates as a percent of R&D spending by all U.S.-based businesses has been inching up over time.  In the past decade, that share rose from just under 11 percent to over 14 percent—a significant climb given the large base.

This is a highly beneficial trend.  Foreign companies beef up domestic savings via outside finance, their exports, and employment of Americans, and also bring in ideas, know-how, and technology.  All of these invisible forces spill over to the rest of the economy.  Such knowledge diffusion transpires through supplier relationships, joint ventures, and learning by doing.  America gets stronger by opening up to the world and sharing its own ideas with others.

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