“How can the U.S. dig itself out of the current job drought?” asks Michael Mandel in WHERE THE JOBS ARE: The APP Economy (Choosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor to follow)
Government policy can temporarily boost employment. The ultimate answer, though, is innovation: The creation of new goods and services that spur the growth of new industries capable of employing tens or hundreds of thousands of workers.
Nothing illustrates the job-creating power of innovation better than the App Economy. The incredibly rapid rise of smartphones, tablets, and social media, and the applications—“apps”—that run on them, is perhaps the biggest economic and
technological phenomenon today. Almost a million apps have been created for the iPhone, iPad and Android alone, greatly augmenting the usefulness of mobile devices. Want to play games, track your workouts, write music? There are a plethora of apps to choose from, many of them free.
On an economic level, each app represents jobs—for programmers, for user interface designers, for marketers, for managers, for support staff. But how many? Conventional employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics are not able to track such a new phenomenon. So in this paper, the author analyze detailed information from The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) database,a comprehensive and up-to-the-minute compilation of want ads, to estimate the number of jobs in the App Economy.
This analysis shows that the App Economy now is responsible for roughly 466,000 jobs in the United States, up from zero in 2007 when the iPhone was introduced. This total includes jobs at ‘pure’ app ﬁrms such as Zynga, a San Francisco-based maker of Facebook game apps that went public in December 2011. App Economy employment also includes app-related jobs at large companies such
as Electronic Arts, Amazon, and AT&T, as well as app ‘infrastructure’ jobs at core ﬁrms such as Google, Apple, and Facebook. In additional, the App Economy total includes employment spillovers to the rest of the economy.
Moreover, App Economy jobs are spread around the country. The top metro area for App Economy jobs, according to our research, is New York City and its surrounding suburban counties, although San Francisco and San Jose together substantially exceed New York. And while California tops the list of App Economy states, states such as Georgia, Florida, and Illinois get their share as well. In fact, more than two-thirds of App Economy employment is outside of California and New York. Our results also suggest that the App Economy is still growing at a rapid clip, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
It must be noted, of course, that the App Economy is only four years old and extremely ﬂuid. Both the location and number of app-related jobs are likely to shift greatly. It should also be noted that the ﬁgures presented in this paper are estimates, based on innovative techniques developed for this project. Finally, these may represent “jobs not lost” rather than net jobs gained. Yet the basic principle holds. Innovation creates jobs, and in this case, lots of them.
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