Investment Heroes 2020

Given the ongoing pandemic, capital investment is more important than ever before.  Hundreds of billions of dollars of investment by broadband providers enabled the U.S.  Internet to respond magnificently to soaring demand when the pandemic hit. On the other hand, some of the sectors that have struggled the most—such as medical equipment and supplies and food production and processing—have suffered from a shortfall of investment.

To emphasize the importance of capital spending for wages and growth, each year the Progressive Policy Institute publishes our list of U.S. “investment heroes”: The companies who are investing the most in America.  Currently, accounting rules do not require companies to report their U.S. capital spending separately. To fill this gap in the data, we created a methodology using publicly-available financial statements from non-financial Fortune 150 companies to identify the top companies that were investing in the United States.

The list below gives the top 20 nonfinancial non-energy companies, ranked by US capital expenditure in the latest fiscal year (Our methodology is described in last year’s report. In particular, page 15 of that report describes adjustments made for particular companies).

We note that 10 out of the top 11 companies on this list are either broadband providers or tech/ecommerce companies.  Out of those ten, the broadband providers invested $52 billion in the United States in their most recent fiscal year, while the tech/ecommerce companies invested $86 billion.




Estimated U.S. Capital Expenditures, millions ($)* 19,306
AT&T 18,520
Alphabet 18,037
Verizon Communications 16,058
Intel 13,416
Microsoft 12,900**
Facebook 12,457
Comcast 10,467
Apple 9,772
Walmart 7,904
Charter Communications 7,195
Ford Motor 6,414
Delta Air Lines 4,936
General Motors 4,899
United Parcel Service 4,793
FedEx 4,647
United Continental Holdings 4,528
American Airlines Group 4,268
Walt Disney 4,024
CenturyLink 3,628
*Based on most recent fiscal year
**Estimated based on 7/22 earnings report. Will be revised when 10K is released
Data: Corporate reports; PPI estimates


(Analysis by Elliott Long and Michael Mandel).

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