In the U.S. Economy

  • In 2020, the United States is estimated to have spent over half a trillion dollars ($708 billion) on R&D. The vast majority of those investments – $532 billion– came from the private sector.
  • Overall, R&D investments represent nearly 4 percent of America’s GDP. Again, 75% of that figure – or nearly 2.6 percent of GDP– is funded by private business R&D investments.
    • State-by-state GDP percentages can be found here.
  • Manufacturers are America’s largest investors in R&D, accounting for roughly three-fifths of private-sector R&D spending in 2019. More than one-fifth of private R&D investments come from IT companies.
  • About 15 percent of private U.S. R&D investments are made by small businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

Creating and Supporting Jobs

  • R&D investments in the U.S. support millions of American jobs every year.
  • Roughly 70 percent of all expenditures claimed under the R&D Tax Credit are for salaries of highly skilled employees.

Around the World

Bottom Line

Given the positive impact of R&D investments on our nation’s economy, America’s leaders – in both government and business – have an obligation to maintain a favorable environment for R&D spending in the United States. From a tax perspective, that means preserving existing incentives for R&D in the tax code and, more importantly, preventing the capitalization of R&D expenses which would erode businesses’ ability to invest in R&D.