June 1, 1999
News Release 99-073
Inv. No. 332-345
ITC REPORTS STRONG TRADE PERFORMANCE BY U.S. SERVICE INDUSTRIES
DESPITE SLOWER EXPORT GROWTH
The U.S. service sector, which accounted for 77 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and
79 percent of the U.S. private-sector workforce in 1997, continues to exert a strong positive
effect on overall U.S. trade performance, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission
(ITC) in its publication Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade, 1999 Annual Report.
The report presents a statistical overview of U.S. trade in services and provides industry-specific
analyses focused on trends in exports, imports, and trade balances during 1996-1997, the most
recent period for which annual services trade data are available. This year's report concludes
with an examination of the professional services sector, discussing wage levels and employment
growth in the sector and recent efforts to liberalize trade in professional services.
The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, publishes this report as a
companion to its separate annual report on manufactures and agricultural commodities, Shifts
in U.S. Merchandise Trade, issued annually in June/July.
Following are highlights of the report:
- U.S. cross-border trade in services generated an $88 billion surplus in 1997,
offsetting 44 percent of the U.S. merchandise trade deficit of $198 billion. In 1997,
U.S. cross-border exports of services grew by 7 percent, markedly slower than the 10
percent average annual growth recorded during 1988-1996. Imports increased by 10
percent, significantly faster than the average annual growth rate of 7 percent
experienced during 1988-1996.
- Most service industries recorded cross-border trade surpluses in 1997, notable
exceptions being advertising, insurance, telecommunications, and freight
transportation. Trade surpluses were largest in intangible intellectual property rights,
travel and tourism, education, and professional services such as architectural,
engineering, and construction services.
- In 1996, U.S.-owned affiliates' sales of services in foreign markets rose by 16 percent,
nearly doubling the 9 percent average annual growth rate posted during 1990-1995.
Meanwhile, U.S. consumers' purchases from U.S.-based affiliates of foreign-owned
firms rose by 8 percent, slightly faster than the 7 percent growth rate during 1990-1995.
- In 1997, the U.S. professional services sector employed 13.1 million workers, while
the U.S. durable goods and non-durable goods manufacturing sectors employed
10.9 million and 7.5 million workers, respectively. Moreover, employment in the
U.S. professional services sector grew by 3.1 percent annually during 1990-1997, on
average, whereas employment in the durable goods and non-durable goods sectors
declined, on average, by 0.1 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.
- The average annual salary of employees in the professional services sector stood at
$40,381 in 1997, higher than the average salary of $36,554 in the non-durable goods
sector and comparable to the annual salary of $41,170 in the durable goods sector.
Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade, 1999 Annual Report (Investigation No. 332-345,
USITC publication 3198, May 1999) will be available on the ITC's Internet server at
www.usitc.gov. A printed copy may be requested by calling 202-205-1809 or by writing the
Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW,
Washington, DC 20436. Requests may also be faxed to 202-205-2104.
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