OECD – Internet accounts for 5.7 percent of jobs in member nations

The ICT sector and the crisis

The global economic crisis immediately had a strong negative impact on innovation worldwide . Total OECD-area business expenditure on research and development (R&D) declined by a record 4.5% in 2009; it declined across all major OECD R&D spenders except Korea and France. In 2010 the recovery that occurred in some countries did not always imply a return to pre-2009 R&D levels. This pattern, a dip followed by partial recovery, is confirmed by indicators such as patents and trademarks. Among the countries most active in innovation, there is a striking contrast between Sweden and Finland, which have experienced a drop in terms of R&D and patents, and Korea, which has continued its fast, steady expansion.

Source: OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2012 Highlights

The expansion of mobile Internet connectivity has helped buoy the ICT sector during the crisis, with 6% growth a year in revenue between 2000 and 2011 for the top firms. ICT services is doing better than ICT manufacturing, reaching output growth of 5%-10% in 2012. Employment in the sector has benefited too, with the top firms hiring more than 14 million people worldwide in 2011, a 6% increase from 2010. Among the top ICT firms, Internet firms performed the best in terms of revenue and employment growth.


E-commerce represents an increasing share of total business revenue. Although this share is still small in many countries, it is growing generally, as is the share of businesses selling and purchasing over the Internet.

The ICT sector continues to attract venture capitalists, accounting for more than 50% of all venture capital in the United States, the world’s largest market, in 2011. Venture capital investment is at its highest level ever, with the exception of an anomalous peak in 2000 during the dot-com bubble. ICT business R&D also continues with both Korea and Finland reaching over 1.5% of GDP.

Measuring the Internet economy 

Governments increasingly fund broadband rollouts, either through direct public investment or via the modification of universal service programmes, yet there is still no widely accepted methodology or single measure to capture the whole Internet economy. But the existing OECD research presented in the Internet Economy Outlook illustrates the importance of establishing an international definition and the need to

develop related policies. The data shows that at least 3% and up to 13% of business sector value added in the United States in 2010 could be attributed to Internetrelated activities depending on the scope of the definition.

Two important requirements for further analysis are high-quality data as inputs and a robust model to interpret them. In addition, cross-country comparisons require harmonisation of data collections across countries, which will likely take years. As such, the full impact of the Internet on our economies remains far from clear, even as the available means of communicating and connecting to information continue to expand rapidly. What is clear is that the Internet is becoming a key economic infrastructure, revolutionising businesses and serving as a platform for innovation.

Adapted and choosen excerpts by JMM from

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