Volume 13 No. 1 SPRING 2012

Facebook creates jobs, study finds

The U.S. jobs picture may be bleak, but the proliferation of Facebook and mobile technology applications has spawned an entirely new industry – dubbed the “App Economy.” analysis Il-Horn Hann and Siva Viswanathan co-directors of the Smith School’s Center for Digital Innovation, Technology, and Strategy, measured the number of people employed to build, develop and consult on Facebook applications. Hann and Viswanathan used data on apps provided by Facebook. Apps include everything from productivity tools to popular games like “Farmville” that users interact with on Facebook.

They estimate that between 129,000 to more than 182,000 people are employed in jobs supported by the app economy. The wages and benefits earned by those employed in and supported by the app economy to total between $12.19 billion to $15.71 billion.

The App Economy has also led to job creation at businesses that supply app developers, and in sectors that reap the benefits of increased household spending by app developers and suppliers from new app economy jobs.

“Our findings confirm that social media platforms have created a thriving new industry,” said Hann. “As Facebook and other platforms grow, we will continue to see job growth and the ripple effects of these advances in the U.S. economy.”

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