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Apple-sparked 'App Economy' created 466K U.S. jobs in 4 years

When Apple launched the App Store alongside the iPhone 3G in July, 2008, it offered both a platform and distribution hub for developers to easily write and monetize software, and effectively created a new economy that a study estimates has generated about 466,000 jobs.

A report released on Tuesday by TechNet (.pdf link) claims that the so-called "App Economy," a term coined in 2009 and brought into mainstream use by a November 2009 Business Week cover story, has grown beyond Apple's App Store to become an entity of its own that has seen steady growth over the past four years.

TechNet, a bipartisan political network of tech CEOs and Senior Executives, tapped consulting firm South Mountain Economics LLC to quantify the size and impact of the App Economy by researching keywords in help-wanted ads, want-ad to employment ratio, tech employment to total employment ratio and job multipliers. The study was meant to illustrate the effect innovation has on job creation, and is not limited to developers alone but also counts management, creative and other staff associated with app production.

What the company came up with was a detailed and surprising analysis of a fast-growing industry that is responsible for roughly 466,000 jobs in the U.S., and includes employment stats from "pure" app companies like Zynga as well as app-related positions from major software developers like Electronic Arts and AT&T.

Included in the study were statistics from the major mobile operating systems including Android, iOS, Blackberry, Facebook and the various iterations of what is now Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.

“The App Economy, along with the broad communications sector, has been a leading source of hiring strength in an otherwise sluggish labor market,” said the report’s author Dr. Michael Mandel, President of South Mountain Economics and former Chief Economist for BusinessWeek.

App Economy by the numbers. | Source: TechNet

California tops the list of states with the highest percentage of App Economy jobs recording nearly one in every four sector positions going to the new industry, and is followed by New York and Washington with 6.9 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively.

Growth for App business employment saw a relative slowdown in growth during 2011, though the average number of tech want ads containing the word "app" was 45 percent higher than the year before.

App Economy growth
Source: TechNet

Apple recently announced that it had paid developers over $4 billion since the launch of the App Store, and the company's over 315 million iOS devices sold has helped software engineers make $700,000 during the last quarter alone.