Foreign Bosses on Rise in the U.S. : British Companies Retain Lead Over Canadians, Dutch

Associated Press

New York nearly caught up with California to be the state with the most residents working for foreign bosses in 1986, according to newly compiled government statistics.

Nationwide, employment by foreign bosses rose 4% and Britain remained the biggest employer, the Commerce Department says in a report to be published in June.

Figures for 1987 will not be compiled until this time next year, a delay caused by the difficulty of collecting employment statistics from thousands of foreign-owned companies.


The report says 2.96 million Americans worked in 1986 for foreign bosses--specifically, operations other than banks that had at least 10% foreign ownership.

California held onto the No. 1 spot by just 27 people as its total shrank and New York’s grew rapidly.

Impact of Big Deals

Next were Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. South Dakota was last, just behind North Dakota.

In spite of the attention that Japanese investors have received in recent years, they ranked only fifth as bosses of Americans behind the British, Canadians, West Germans and Dutch.

The Commerce Department does not disclose foreign employers by name, but it is obvious that some of the big deals of 1986 had an impact on the numbers.

For example, the $3.4-billion acquisition of Allied Stores Corp. by Canada’s Campeau Corp. helps explain why Canada’s U.S. employment jumped by about 75,000.

On the other hand, West Germany’s overall U.S. employment dropped a whopping 100,000 largely because W. R. Grace & Co. no longer counted in its totals. Grace repurchased 26% of its shares from the Flick industrial group of West Germany for $596 million.

Although Japan’s U.S. employment rose only about 2%, its heavy investments in the United States, especially financial companies, caused its U.S. assets to shoot up 51%.

With $96.7 billion in U.S. assets, Japan ranked third behind Britain’s $133.8 billion and Canada’s $129.5 billion.

The report, completed in early May, will be published in the May issue of the department’s Survey of Current Business, which is released in mid-June.


Nearly 3 million American workers were employed at non-bank businesses partly or entirely owned by foreign companies in 1986, the most recent year for which data is available. State-by-state figures are for employment at companies with at least 10% foreign ownership. Above, a welder works for Japanese at Nissan’s auto plant in New Smyrna, Tenn.; below, a young man works for Canadians at Campeau Corp.-owned Ralphs Grocery.

Top 10 1986 California 284,496 New York 284,469 Texas 211,254 New Jersey 161,706 Illinois 153,197 Pennsylvania 152,439 Ohio 127,072 North Carolina 119,182 Georgia 109,003 Florida 107,355

Bottom 10 1986 Nevada 8,752 Vermont 6,957 District of Columbia 6,793 Alaska 6,471 Nebraska 6,215 Idaho 3,072 Montana 3,041 Wyoming 2,892 N. Dakota 2,361 S. Dakota 1,513

Here is a breakdown of foreign employers of Americans for 1986. The numbers are for total U.S. employees of non-bank companies with at least 10% foreign ownership:

Britain 636,000 Canada 602,528 West Germany 305,337 Netherlands 258,935 Japan 216,392 France 193,052 Switzerland 181,729 Latin America 132,459 Aust., N.Z., S. Afr.* 85,782 Sweden 73,906

*Australia, New Zealand and South Africa Source: Commerce Department