July 8, 2011
News Release 11-080
Inv. No. 332-345
Contact: Peg O'Laughlin, 202-205-1819
U.S. SERVICE PROVIDERS REMAIN COMPETITIVE
IN GLOBAL SERVICES MARKET, SAYS USITC
The United States remained the world's largest services market and also the world's leading
exporter and importer of services in 2009, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission
(USITC) in its publication Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade, 2011 Annual Report.
The USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, compiles the report
annually. Each year's report presents a statistical overview of U.S. trade in services and
highlights some of the service sectors and geographic markets that contribute substantially to
recent services trade performance.
This year's report primarily focuses on professional services and includes separate chapters on
specific professional service sectors (computer, education, health and legal services) and
audiovisual services. These chapters analyze issues affecting global competitive conditions in
the industry, examine recent trade performance, and summarize the industry outlook going
The 2011 report covers trade in services from 2004 through 2009. Highlights of the report
- The U.S. services trade surplus in 2009 shrank for the first time since 2003, largely due to
the economic downturn. The total U.S. services trade surplus was $149 billion in 2009,
down from $161.4 billion in 2008. Professional services accounted for roughly a fifth of
U.S. cross-border services exports in 2009.
- In 2008, the value of services sold abroad by foreign affiliates of U.S. firms ($1.1 trillion)
continued to exceed purchases of services from foreign-owned affiliates in the United
States ($727.4 billion). Foreign affiliates of U.S. firms supplied no less than $91.8 billion
in professional services, higher than the $82.2 billion in professional services supplied by
U.S. affiliates of foreign firms.
- Professional services account for a large and growing segment of the U.S. economy. In
2009, professional services contributed $2.2 trillion, or 20 percent, to U.S. private sector
GDP. Between 2004 and 2008, annual growth in professional services output exceeded
output growth in infrastructure services as well as the U.S. private sector as a whole.
- In 2009, professional services employed 26 million persons, or 26 percent of U.S. private
sector employment. Wages for professional service workers grew more rapidly than
those for infrastructure services. In 2009, professional workers, on average, earned more
than their counterparts in infrastructure services or goods industries.
- A number of factors created opportunities for U.S. professional and audiovisual service
providers in foreign markets. Demographic trends increased demand in mature
audiovisual and healthcare markets, while economic development in emerging markets
stimulated demand for education and legal services and bolstered trade for computer
- The economic environment influenced the operations of many U.S. professional service
providers. The economic downturn depressed demand in a number of different services
sectors, including computer, healthcare, and legal services, while education and
healthcare service providers experienced a shifting policy environment as governments
try to balance budgetary and social objectives.
- The USITC hosted its 4th annual services roundtable on December 8, 2010; the
discussion is summarized in the report. Discussion topics included the effect of
globalization on U.S. service jobs and wages, the net welfare effects of establishing
service affiliates abroad, and the effects of technological advancements on the production
and delivery of services.
Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade, 2011 Annual Report (Investigation No. 332-345, USITC
publication 4243, July 2011) is available on the USITC's Internet site at
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