The Fortunes of the Fortune 500

Global Business:  28% of the 500 largest multinational companies are U.S.-based.Time was when the United States accounted for the largest contingent of the Fortune 500 global companies. Not so anymore. According to stats reported recently by international business expert Ted Fishman in USA Today, only about one-fourth of the 500 largest global enterprises are based in the U.S.

And those that remain on the list aren’t behaving particularly “American,” either. This group of ~140 companies has eliminated nearly 3 American million jobs since 2000.

Is that a consequence of the recent global recession? Hardly … the same companies added ~2.4 million jobs overseas during the same period.

The particulars behind each company’s employment choices are varied, of course. But certain factors seem to come up often in the analysis, including:

 Gaining closer geographic proximity to the world’s fastest-growing economies such as India, China and other Far Eastern countries.

 The availability of workforces that are “cheaper” to hire and require fewer employee benefits.

 A relatively unattractive U.S. corporate tax rate compared to other countries – hard to believe, but America’s 35% top corporate rate is eclipsed only by Japan’s (39.5%).Going forward, it would be nice if America’s largest corporate entities could be more sensitive to the need for additional investment here at home. Then again, it would be equally gratifying if government adopted policies of lower tax rates and easing regulations to make business growth and job creation in America easier.

The truth is, both parties will continue to pursue their own self-motivated interests, which is only natural.

The problem is, it’s a lopsided game. With a big wide world out there, the multinationals have a host of options at their disposal … and thus hold the winning cards. Tax laws and new regulations can be put on the books time and again, but the multinational crowd continues to float above it all, seemingly unaffected by anything – at least not to any great extent.

Meanwhile, U.S. small business gets hammered.

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