Greenfield investment into North America is on the decline, although it is still performing better than other world regions. This is according to figures from crossborder investment monitor fDi Markets which were published in The fDi Report 2013, an annual report from fDi Intelligence.

The number of FDI projects into North America declined by 9.48% in 2012, with the region attracting 1671 FDI projects during the year. Capital investment in 2012 decreased by an estimated 12.61% and job creation by an estimated 2.36% compared with 2011. Despite these declines, North America was the best performing region of the world in 2012, with the decline in FDI much sharper in the rest of the world.


California was the leading state in the region, attracting 205 projects, more than one-tenth of FDI into North America. The top five states for FDI into North America remained unchanged from 2011 and in total accounted for 39.26% of the market in 2012. California accounted for 12.27% followed by New York (8.74%), Ontario (7.36%), Texas (6.94%) and Florida (3.95%). New York experienced a 5.04% increase in projects compared with 2011, even with the effects of Hurricane Sandy. In contrast, New Jersey suffered a 41.46% decrease in projects recorded.

The fastest growing of the top 15 states by project numbers were Michigan (60%), British Columbia (26.92%), Alabama (16.67%) and Massachusetts (5.56%). The top state in terms of capital investment was Texas, which recorded an estimated $18bn in FDI, a doubling of investment compared with 2011 and attracting 26.59% of capital investment into North America in 2012. The leading state in terms of job creation was Florida, which recorded an estimated 11,468 FDI jobs, more than double the number of 2011 and accounting for 8.58% of FDI job creation in North America.

FDI projects out of North America

North American FDI overseas declined by 15.71% in project numbers in 2012, with 3150 projects recorded. There was a 34.51% decline in estimated capital investment and a 32.84% decline in estimated jobs created overseas by North American enterprises.

California was again the top state for outward FDI, with 513 projects recorded. The top three states accounted for more than one-third of outward FDI from North America in 2012. California accounted for 16.29%, followed by New York (14.67%) and Ontario (5.78%). The fastest growing of the top 15 states was Quebec, which experienced a 24.66% increase in FDI project numbers overseas.

The top state in terms of capital investment overseas was California, which invested an estimated $16.7bn overseas, a 35.74% decrease compared with 2011. New York was the top state for job creation overseas, with an estimated 43,842 jobs created – a 23.74% decrease from 2011.

FDI projects into North America by sector in 2012

In 2012, ICT with 359 projects and business and financial services with 325 projects were the top two sectors for FDI projects into North America. Collectively, these two sectors accounted for 40.93% of FDI into North America in 2012, showing the dominance of services as the main source of greenfield FDI projects into the region.

Of the top 10 sectors, the transportation, warehousing and storage sector increased FDI projects in North America by 16.36%, transport equipment by 7.32% and the food, beverages and tobacco sector by 6.35%. The transport equipment sector was the only sector in the top five for 2012 to experience growth. Japanese automotive companies in particular ramped up their North American investment in 2012 pulled by the growth in the local automotive market and pushed by natural disasters and strength of the yen at home.

ICT and transport equipment experienced the greatest increase in market share, accounting for 21.48% and 10.53%, respectively, of FDI projects in North America in 2012.

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