Study says apps have generated almost 500,000 jobs in five years

Feb 8, 2012
Finance

Lots of numbers come out of the ever-growing mobile app sphere, suggesting that there’s a ton of money to be made by companies ranging from Apple and Google to independent developers. A new study suggests that apps aren’t just good for the people selling them or using them, they’re having an even bigger impact on […]

Lots of numbers come out of the ever-growing mobile app sphere, suggesting that there’s a ton of money to be made by companies ranging from Apple and Google to independent developers. A new study suggests that apps aren’t just good for the people selling them or using them, they’re having an even bigger impact on the U.S. economy.

The study comes from TechNet, a CEO network, that has found the “App Economy” has generated perhaps as many as 466,000 jobs since the release of the iPhone about five years ago. As Fierce Mobile Content reports, the numbers aren’t completely limited to mobile devices – also included in the reckoning were things like Facebook apps – but the overall thrust of the findings is that apps are big business and great for jobs, for both tech specialists and non-tech employees.

TechNet’s study combines a couple of different bits of information to come to its conclusion. First, it measures jobs at firms that purely make apps, such as mobile and Facebook game maker Zynga. Then it goes further, to measure jobs that relate just to apps at companies where creating apps might not be the central focus: think Electronic Arts (which is the second-biggest publisher in video games) or Amazon. It also factors in additional numbers, like human resources, management and marketing jobs created by the business of producing and selling apps and managing employees; TechNet figures for every technology job in created by the App Economy to build an app, a second job is created in a non-technology field.

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The study also speculates that the increased prevalence of apps has an impact on the economy in other ways, like increasing local spending. A good example of this theory in action is the success of Groupon over the last few years. Groupon’s mobile app makes it easy and fast to find local deals and patronize businesses users might not otherwise visit. TechNet figures lots of apps help the economy not just by creating jobs in order to build them, but through their actual implementation, as well.

TechNet’s press release doesn’t include a lot of details about its methodology or how it came to the numbers it did, but given the rampant increase in the smartphone and app markets in the last two or three years, the numbers aren’t all that surprising. And there are also other segments of the industry, such as advertising or tie-ins between apps and existing software on desktop computers, to think about as well.

A few months back we heard that almost half the U.S. was using smartphones, and of those users, 62 percent download new apps each month, according to Nielsen. That’s a whole lot of apps getting bought, downloaded and used, pumping money not just into Apple and Google’s enormous coffers, but into the rest of the country, as well.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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