Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade, 2011 Annual Report

Publication Type: 
Industry & Econ Analysis (332)
Publication Topic: 
Service Industries
Publication Number: 
Investigation No.: 
Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade, 2011 Annual Report



The United States remained the world's largest services market and also the world's leading exporter and importer of services in 2009, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) in its annual review of U.S. trade in services.

This year's report focuses primarily on professional services and includes separate chapters on specific professional service sectors (computer, education, health and legal services) and audiovisual services.

The 2011 report covers trade in services from 2004 through 2009. Highlights include:

  • The U.S. services trade surplus in 2009 shrank for the first time since 2003, largely due to the economic downturn.
  • In 2008, the value of services sold abroad by foreign affiliates of U.S. firms ($1.1 trillion) continued to exceed purchases of services from foreign-owned affiliates in the United States ($727.4 billion).
  • Professional services accounted for roughly a fifth of U.S. cross-border services exports in 2009.
  • Demographic trends increased demand in mature audiovisual and healthcare markets, while economic development in emerging markets stimulated demand for education and legal services and bolstered trade for computer services.
  • The economic downturn depressed demand in a number of different services sectors, including computer, healthcare, and legal services, while education and healthcare service providers experienced a shifting policy environment as governments try to balance budgetary and social objectives.
  • The USITC’s fourth annual services roundtable, which was held on December 8, 2010, and is summarized in the report, focused on the effect of globalization on U.S. service jobs and wages, the net welfare effects of establishing service affiliates abroad, and the effects of technological advancements on the production and delivery of services.

The USITC’s report is now available at: