Uncertainty Deterring Hiring, Spending: Siemens CEO
Business in the U.S. has been growing "quite well," but economic uncertainty caused by Washington limits corporate spending and hiring, Siemens U.S. president and CEO told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."
Eric Spiegel estimates that the U.S. business, with more than 60,000 employees and 140 plants, represents 25 percent of the German company's sales. He put U.S. growth at 9 percent over the past two years, adding that Siemens has invested $25 billion here over the last decade, including acquisitions.
Although Siemens had created "a couple thousand" U.S. jobs in recent years, Spiegel said, uncertainty has him in a "wait and see" mentality about hiring.
"We know a lot of customers who have billions of dollars of capital projects kind of sitting on the side waiting to see what happens," he said. "We're hopeful. People are making long-term investments, they want to see that the economy is settled and we don't have so much uncertainty about the fiscal situation."
He called the United States a "viable place" to put workers because of average productivity and the low energy costs, compared to rising wages in China and higher transportation expenses.
Spiegel said he doesn't know where health care reform is headed but the U.S. has an opportunity to drive down costs via technology.
"We need to keep a continuous policy around R&D tax credits," the executive said. He called the U.S. "the best place to do software-type innovation," which he sees as another major competitive advantage.