The Internet is a huge job generator for the economy. John Quelch and his team recently crunched the numbers in a new study for the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and calculates the Internet economy to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars in the United States alone.
And, mind you, this only covers the advertising-supported segment of the Internet, and does not cover the immense gains seen in terms of corporate productivity, ability to enter new markets, or through online channel engagements and sales among more "traditional" enterprises. I'd also like to see a study on jobs and income generated as a result of businesses moving processes online, but this is a good start to illustrate the huge impact of this new medium. (IAB release here, full report here.)
Quelch estimates "the Internet employs 1.2 million people directly to conduct advertising and commerce, build and maintain the infrastructure, and facilitate its use." In addition, each Internet job supports approximately 1.54 additional jobs elsewhere in the economy, for a total of 3.05 million, or roughly two percent, of employed Americans. Quelch puts the dollar value of their wages at about $300 billion, or around two percent of U.S. GDP.
Quelch's team included a range of Internet-connected industries in their estimates, including Internet Service Providers, hardware and network providers, software companies, and consulting companies.
Quelch puts the direct economic value to the rest of the U. S. economy is estimated at $175 billion -- up to $444 billion when considering secondary effects. Again, this is just the advertising-supported Internet.