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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

June 20, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Region has long way to go boosting foreign investment

In so many areas, the Puget Sound region punches above its weight. But we’re only so-so when it comes to attracting foreign direct investment. That’s one conclusion from a report by the Brookings Institution that was released today.

The share of jobs at U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies in Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue was 4.7 percent in 2011, the year surveyed. By comparison, the similar sized Minneapolis attracted 5 percent and the smaller metro area of Denver showed 4.9 percent. In the average large metro, foreign direct investment (FDI) supports 5.5 percent of employment.

Between 1991 and 2011, metro Seattle saw its FDI grow by 63 percent — but that is still below the national average.

Local leaders are aware of the shortfall, and opportunity, and are crafting strategies to attract more FDI. We’re part of a Brookings pilot program on the issue, led by the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle and the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County.

To be sure, we have it pretty good, with a more diversified economy than most metros. And high FDI numbers in some metros, especially smaller ones, represent efforts to lure big foreign plants to offset losses from other industries, such as textiles. Still, there’s no excuse for being below Detroit and Buffalo.

You can read the report here and see how other cities perform on an interactive map. Metro Portland’s jobs connected to FDI was 4.8 percent and Boise was 2.8 percent.

This Week’s Links:

The highest-paid CEOs are the worst performers, new research says | Forbes

Paul Krugman: Does Geithner pass the test? | NY Review of Books

Google investing $50 to get girls to code | The Verge

Amazon sets fire to its money losing business plan | Bloomberg View

Why we’re all crony capitalists, like it or not | NY Times

More finance, more crises | Triple Crisis

After criticism, Starbucks clarifies tuition reimbursement program | LA Times

Today’s Econ Haiku:

It’s been five years now

They call it recovery

Hangover, maybe

Comments | More in | Topics: Foreign dire

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