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The Internet Sector Created 6 Million Jobs, $2.1 Trillion In GDP In 2018, New IA Research Finds

“The U.S. internet industry is an American success story that’s creating jobs in every sector of the economy.”

Christopher Hooton, IA Chief Economist

Washington, DC – Internet Association today released the 2019 update to its estimate for the size and scope of the U.S. internet sector. IA found that the internet is the fourth largest sector in the U.S., creating 6 million director jobs and more than $2 trillion in GDP in 2018. This report is an update to IA’s 2015 report measuring the size of the sector.

“The U.S. internet industry is an American success story that’s creating jobs in every sector of the economy,” said IA Chief Economic Christopher Hooton. “Over the last decade it’s quadrupled in size, jumping from a top 20 industry to the top four in a matter of years. It continues to be a primary driver of our economy, both in terms of jobs and output – and will be for the foreseeable future.”

IA used Census, BEA, and SEC government data from 2018 to estimate the internet sector’s contributions to the American economy. Key findings from the report include:

  • The internet sector contributed $2.1 trillion to U.S. GDP, making it the fourth largest sector in the economy. At 10.1 percent of GDP, the internet sector sits behind only “Real estate, rental, and leasing”, “Public Administration (Government),” and “Manufacturing.”
  • More than 6 million Americans work in the internet sector, double the number in 2014. Those six million jobs are the equivalent of about 4 percent of U.S. employment.
  • The internet sector supported another 13.1 million indirect jobs in other areas of the economy. The sector demonstrates strong positive downstream effects for the economy, supporting two indirect jobs for every internet job.
  • The internet sector grew nine times faster than the U.S. economy as a whole from 2012 to 2018. Overall GDP grew by 41.8 percent between 2007-2018, from $14.5 trillion to $20.5 trillion. The internet sector grew about 372 percent, from $438.8 billion in value-added to about $2.1 trillion – nine times faster than the overall economy during this period. For additional comparison, the Information sector and Manufacturing sector grew by 59.3 percent and 26.6 percent, respectively, over the same period. 
  • The internet sector invested over $60 billion into the economy in 2018. U.S. internet sector companies invested $64 billion in the U.S. economy through capital expenditures. IA’s members alone invested over $42 billion.

To read the full report, click here.