Commentary

Facebook Creates More Jobs than U.S.

Okay, the headline is slightly exaggerated, since the Facebook jobs were created in the U.S. But you can't deny the numbers are impressive: in a new study titled "The Facebook App Economy," professors at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business have calculated that 182,000 new jobs have been created in the U.S. by Facebook apps over the last couple years. That compares favorably to the overall change in U.S. non-farm payrolls, which dipped 100,000 from 131.2 million in August 2009 to 131.1 million in August 2011.

And that's the low-ball estimate; the study authors, led by Prof., Il-Horn Hann, say a more realistic estimate puts the number of jobs created by the Facebook app economy at 235,644 jobs. Compared to some of the leading industries in job creation, that's more than the number of jobs created by the mining industry from October 2009-August 2011 (144,000), but not quite as many as created by healthcare over the last year (306,000).

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Meanwhile the Facebook app economy has supposedly created somewhere between $12.2 billion and $15.7 billion in wages and benefits for U.S. workers, according to the same study. Part of this is indirect, including increased business to "businesses that supply app developers."

In a much-needed bit of good news, the study authors predict that the app economy will continue its rapid growth, and it obviously won't be limited to Facebook, as paid and ad-supported apps continue to proliferate. Hann stated: "Our findings confirm that social media platforms have created a thriving new industry. 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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