We're all familiar with the saying, "put your money where your mouth is," but a new study has added a fresh twist to that old adage. At a time of great economic uncertainty, a Washington think tank has compiled a list of companies that are doing the best job at putting their money where their business is by investing billions of dollars right here in the good old USA!
In a research report entitled "Investment Heroes: Who's Betting on America's Future?" the Progressive Policy Institute highlights the top 25 American companies that spent the most money in 2011 investing domestically on things like new plants, new technology, and new equipment.
"The role of investment in the economy is essential," says Diana Carew, an economist at the Progressive Policy Institute and co-author of the report. "It creates jobs. It boosts wages. It boosts productivity. It stimulates growth. It affects millions of Americans in a very positive way."
In total, the top 25 companies invested $136 billion combined last year, the report shows, with half the big spenders coming from the Telecom (IYZ) and Energy (XLE) sectors, as well as a significant contribution from Tech (QQQ) and the Automakers. Financial companies were excluded from the list because they do not publicly report their capital expenditures.
Carew says despite record levels of cash on hand, the total dollar level of corporate capital investment is still roughly 7% below pre-crisis 2007 levels. It's a dilemma she likens to an ''investment drought," and a problem that must be addressed."We need to encourage more investment," she says in the attached video, pointing out that multiple layers of regulation are discouraging capital investment and innovation at a time when we need it most. "It's very easy to add new regulation, a new rule, a new zoning permit law, a new fine or legal fee, but it's very hard to take them away once they've been set up."
It's also worth noting that if foreign companies had been included, UK-based BP (BP) would be fourth on the list with $8.8 billion spent in the U.S. last year. But either way, she says, multi-national companies that are investing now in the face of economic uncertainty ''should be lauded" for their efforts. Especially the auto manufacturers, who "were bailed out just a couple years ago, and we see they are investing again and giving back to the economy in a very important way."
By Matt Nesto