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Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade: 2017 Annual Report

United States International Trade Commission – Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade: 2017 Annual Report, May 2017

“Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade: 2017 Annual Report focuses on U.S. exports and imports of professional services, particularly accounting and auditing, architecture and engineering, legal, and management consulting services. In 2015, the United States exported $139.7 billion in professional services and imported $91.0 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $48.7 billion for this segment of the services sector. By comparison, the total U.S. services trade surplus was $263.4 billion. U.S. professional services contributed $2.6 trillion to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015, or 19 percent of total U.S. private sector GDP. Professional services employed over 29 million full-time equivalent employees in 2015, representing 25.8 percent of U.S. total private sector employment. The healthcare sector supplied about half of professional services’ contribution to employment and GDP. Wages for professional services workers have grown slightly more slowly than those in many other services industries. The workers earned an average wage of $65,861 in 2015, exceeding the private sector average, but trailing wages in electronic services, financial services, and goods manufacturing.Professional services such as management consulting are being transformed by digital technology, as software is increasingly able to perform routine tasks. However, many professional services also require non-routine creative tasks, as well as social interaction, neither of which can easily be automated. Sectors like legal services and accounting and auditing services remain highly regulated, and these regulations can significantly influence patterns of international trade.”

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