Meteoric rise of mobile apps creates thousands of jobs

Posted by Shane McGlaun

Apple has long said there is an app for practically everything in its App Store, and I think it's fair to say Cupertino's statement is spot on.

Now, if we add the apps available for other smartphone platforms such as Android, there's obviously a huge number of devs in the US coding software for various mobile devices and operating systems.

Perhaps not unsurprisingly, a recent study conducted by Michael Mandel from South Mountain Economics claims the so-called "app economy" is responsible for creating a whopping 466,000 jobs in the United States.

This is actually an increase from zero jobs in the app economy back in 2007 when the iPhone originally debuted.

Interestingly, Mandel noted that the above-mentioned statistic may not be completely accurate, as some of the 466,000 could represent jobs "not lost" - rather than jobs gained overall. Meaning, instead of creating new positions, some app developers may have transitioned from phased out software languages or tasks.

The study lists the core platforms in the app economy as Android, iOS, BlackBerry OS, Windows Phone, and Facebook, while analyzing the distribution of jobs in app economy. As expected, New York City and the surrounding counties are ranked as the top metropolitan spot for app coders. 

Although NYC  clinched the number one spot for mobile app coders, the cities of San Francisco and San Jose (combined) actually boasted more jobs created than in and around NYC - as California is the state with the most app economy jobs. Nevertheless, despite the strong concentration of app jobs in NYC and California, the bulk of the jobs in the app economy, two-thirds to be exact, are located outside those two locations.

"It must be noted, of course, that the App Economy is only four years old and extremely fluid. Both the location and number of app-related jobs are likely to shift greatly," Mandel explained in his executive summary. "It should also be noted that the figures presented in this paper are estimates, based on innovative techniques developed for this project. Finally, these may represent 'jobs not lost' rather than net jobs gained. Yet the basic principle holds. Innovation creates jobs, and in this case, lots of them."