U.S.-owned businesses and U.S. affiliates of foreign companies had worldwide R&D expenses of $330 billion in calendar year 2008 and worldwide sales of $11 trillion, according to the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). Working with the Census Bureau, NSF launched a pilot-scale study in 2008 to more accurately track R&D activity in an attempt to obtain a better gauge of the global competitiveness of the United States. The initial findings show the manufacturing sector accounted for about 71 percent of R&D activity. Moreover, 68 percent of the worldwide sales of companies with R&D activity came from their domestic business, and 85 percent of the sales at scientific R&D service companies came from their domestic operations. Small businesses with less than 500 employees invested more of their expenditures on R&D than larger companies, spending $64 billion on R&D and accounting for $1 trillion of the total $11 trillion in sales. About $234 billion of the total R&D expense was conducted in facilities in the United States. The report also shows that foreign companies with R&D operations in the United States are making up the difference in R&D activity that has been taken overseas by U.S.-based companies.
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