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The Professional Services Industry in the United States
The United States is the world’s most desired location for professional services firms.
In today’s integrated global environment, businesses find it critical to access the talent, institutions, business processes, and client base offered in the United States. Additionally, the educational and research infrastructure present in the United States is an important asset for domestic and international professional services firms.
In 2012, the U.S. professional services industry comprised about 760,000 firms with combined annual revenues of $1.5 trillion. The industry employed 7.8 million Americans.
The world’s leading professional services companies locate in the United States to serve the large and dynamic U.S. corporate sector. The United States features a transparent, stable regulatory environment, strong intellectual property rights protection and enforcement, and a reliable judicial system. Together with a highly skilled workforce and intellectual leadership from the boardroom to the classroom, the United States generates a greater and more stable demand for professional services than any other country.
Accounting: Firms in this subsector generated $131.6 billion in revenue in 2012. Firms provided payroll services, financial auditing services, tax preparation services, and other consulting services for individuals and corporate clients.
Architectural services: This subsector accounted for more than $62.5 billion in revenue in 2012, with the majority of that revenue generated from non-residential construction. This sector includes firms primarily engaged in planning and designing residential, institutional, leisure, commercial, and industrial buildings and structures. As with engineering firms, many architectural firms are small niche companies that complement the work of larger U.S. firms that have a more global footprint.
Engineering services: This subsector posted $184.1 billion in revenues in 2012. Industrial and manufacturing engineering contributed most significantly to total revenue. Other contributors included commercial and institutional architecture, transportation infrastructure, and power generation and distribution activities. This subsector includes firms primarily engaged in the design, development, and utilization of machines, materials, instruments, structures, processes, and systems. Engineering services include the preparation of feasibility studies and preliminary and final plans and designs; the provision of technical advice and assistance during the construction or installation phase; and the inspection and evaluation of engineering projects.
Legal services: Legal services generated $270.6 billion in revenue during 2012. Firms in this sector provided a variety of legal services including litigation support, general corporate services, plaintiff and defense work for individuals and companies, patent agent services, paralegal services, and process serving services.
Management consulting: This subsector accounted for $171.9 billion in revenue during 2012. Firms provided consulting services in administrative and general management; human resources; marketing; process, physical distribution, and logistics; environmental; and other scientific and technical services.