752,000 App Economy jobs on the 5th anniversary of the App Store

In honor of the 5th anniversary of Apple’s App Store, I decided to update my estimates of the number of App Economy jobs. Following the same methodology described in my October 2012 study The Geography of the App Economy (with Judy Scherer),  I find that there are currently 752,000 App Economy jobs in the United States, all created since the first iPhone hit the marketplace.

App Economy jobs are growing at a rapid rate–roughly 40% over the past year, showing the very fast penetration of apps into the very mainstream of the U.S. economy (see the definition of ‘App Economy jobs’ below). These jobs are all over the country–for example, Scottrade, a leading online brokerage, is currently advertising for an Android Mobile Developer to work in St. Louis, Missouri. General Motors is advertising for a Detroit position for someone “certifying apps that get submitted by third party developers and internal teams before publishing the apps to the curated app store hosted by GM.”

Indeed, three-quarter of a million App Economy jobs are nothing to sneeze at, at a time when many industries still have not recovered from the financial crisis. All sorts of employers hire employees with App Economy skills–large and small app developers, large media and software companies who develop apps to sell under their own name, finance and retail companies that use apps to reach their customers, large and small non-tech companies that develop apps for their own use, military and other government agencies that need apps, nonprofits, large companies—including Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft,and RIM—that develop and maintain mobile app ecosystems/platforms, and so on.

One big issue now is whether government regulation will end up squelching the job growth in the App Economy. This could be a particular problem in Europe, if privacy regulations are tightened enough to make ‘free’ apps uneconomic.

Note: These estimates are based on the HWOL database from The Conference Board.  They are preliminary and could change in the future.By my definition, App Economy jobs are:

–An IT-related job that uses App Economy skills—the ability to develop, maintain, or support mobile applications, whether it’s for iOS, Android, or any other mobile operating system or app ecosystem (our methodology picks up all major app ecosystems)

–A non-IT job (such as human resources or marketing) which supports app developers in the same company.

–A job in the local economy that is supported by app developers (we use conservative estimates for the spillover effect).



Related Articles & Press