Importers, Exporters, and Multinationals: A Portrait of Firms in the U.S. that Trade Goods

Working Paper
September 2005

J. Bradford JensenA newly developed dataset permits examination of new dimensions of firm activity, including how many products firms trade, how many countries firms trade with, the characteristics of those countries, the concentration of trade across firms, whether firms transact at arm's length or with related parties, and whether firms import as well as export. Firms that trade goods play an important role in the United States, employing more than a third of the US workforce. The most globally engaged US firms-that is, those that both export to and import from related parties-dominate US trade flows and employment at trading firms. Firms that began trading between 1993 and 2000 experience especially rapid employment growth and are a major force in overall job creation.