Software Industry Growth Far Outpaces
US Economy, Hits $1.14T
October 10, 2017
Amid discussions about the slow pace
of growth in the US economy, software’s economic impact is surging –
adding $1.14 trillion overall, supporting more than 10 million jobs, and
propelling the economy in all 50 states. These are among the key
findings in “The Growing $1 Trillion Economic Impact of Software” – the
first-ever report to track the growth of software’s impact on the US
economy and demonstrate how software provides a powerful spark across
Among the report’s key findings:
Software’s direct economic impact grew by 18.7 percent in the past two
years while the US economy grew 6.7 percent. In addition, the report
shows how software jobs are surging across the country – with states
like Kansas and Indiana outpacing all others.
These results, and other important details highlighting the importance
of the software industry can be found in the new report, the latest from
Software.org: the BSA Foundation.
The report’s other key findings include:
• Software contributed more than
$1.14 trillion to the total US value-added GDP in 2016 – a $70 billion
increase in the past two years.
• Software is a powerful job creator.
The industry directly employs 2.9 million people in the US and supports
a total of 10.5 million US jobs through indirect and induced impacts.
Those numbers are up 14 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively, since
2014. In comparison, US employment grew 3.9 percent from 2014 to 2016.
• Software drives growth in all 50
states. In 35 states, value-added GDP directly attributable to the
software industry grew more than 20 percent in 2016 – with Idaho and
North Carolina up more than 40 percent.
• Software industry employment is
growing fastest in some unexpected places. Kansas, Mississippi, Indiana,
Idaho, and Louisiana led the way in 2016, with direct software
employment in Kansas and Indiana growing more than 30 percent.
• Growing software investments in
innovation will continue to drive economic benefits. The software
industry invested more than $63 billion in research and development
(R&D) in 2013 (the latest year for which data was available), compared
to $52 billion in 2012, representing a sizeable 21 percent increase.
This year’s report incorporates data and analysis from The Economist
Intelligence Unit (EIU) and builds on a 2016 report that explored the
state of the industry in 2014.
“This year’s report not only quantifies the breadth and depth of
software’s impact, but also allows the first-ever comparison of how our
industry is growing,” said Victoria Espinel, President of Software.org:
the BSA Foundation and President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance.
“These gains extend far beyond the software industry; they create a
ripple effect that magnifies opportunities and job growth in every
industry across the country.”
addition to tracking software’s effect on the broader US economy, the
report looks at state-by-state data. In each – regardless of how big or
small, rural or urban – software innovation contributes a significant
economic impact by boosting employment, lifting wages, and driving
investments in local research and development.
Taken as a whole, Software.org hopes this study will help policymakers
and thought leaders better understand the magnitude of the widespread
benefits a thriving software industry delivers. At the state level, the
data give leaders a better sense of the impact of their technology
initiatives and help them focus more precisely on the pragmatic policy
choices that advance software-enabled gains.
“The continued growth, vitality, and innovation of the software industry
depends on policies that encourage continued innovation and investment,”
said Chris Hopfensperger, Executive Director of Software.org: the BSA
Foundation. “A thriving innovation ecosystem, in turn, will provide
smarter opportunities for growing our economy, protecting the
environment, boosting education, and improving public safety.”