A study finds that the Internet economy has grown seven times faster than the entire US economy, creating more than 7 million jobs in the past four years.

The IAB study shows that the Internet economy is transforming the US economy, creating new markets and spurring job growth for companies large and small.

New York – October 19, 2021 A new study commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and led by a Harvard Business School researcher, finds that the Internet economy has grown seven times faster than the total US economy over the past four years, and now accounts for 12 percent of US GDP.

Specifically, the Internet economy’s contribution to US GDP has grown 22 percent annually since 2016, in a national economy that is growing 2 to 3 percent annually. In 2020 alone, it contributed $2.45 trillion to the US GDP of $21.18 trillion. Since the IAB began measuring the economic impact of the Internet in 2008, the Internet’s contribution to GDP has grown eightfold, from $300 billion to $2.45 trillion.

The study, “The Economic Impact of the Market-Making Internet – Advertising, Content, Commerce, and Innovation: Contribution to Employment and GDP in the United States” found that:

  • More than 17 million jobs have been created in the United States by the commercial Internet, 7 million more than four years ago.
  • More Internet jobs, 38 percent, were created by small businesses and self-employed individuals than the largest Internet companies, which generated 34 percent.
  • There are 200,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the online creator economy. This number is slightly less than the combined membership of the professional and labor unions SAG-AFTRA (160,000), the American Federation of Musicians (80,000), the Writer’s Guild (24,000), and the Authors’ Guild (9,000).
  • Each congressional district relies on online certified jobs:
      • Seven congressional districts have at least 10% of their residents directly employed in the Internet ecosystem, which is 9% of all online jobs in the United States.
      • The remaining 91% of online recruitment is spread across 425 congressional districts.
      • Of these, 272 regions have at least 10,000 certified online jobs.

“Over the past eight years since our last study, the Internet has made business formation a more democratic process,” said John Deaton, Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Emeritus at Harvard Business School. “Not only large corporations, but also large numbers of small businesses and individuals, now have the platforms and tools to find, interact with, and engage with customers. The founders do not need to put large amounts of capital on the table. Investors have shown a great willingness to provide capital, confident that advertising, selling subscriptions and licenses, and freemium options will provide them with an attractive return on their investment.”

“It is clear that the US economy is undergoing a radical transformation driven by the power of the Internet in market making,” said David Cohen, CEO of IAB. “Not only are barriers to entry lower, but the power of interactive advertising allows companies to connect with consumers faster and more efficiently than ever before. It is now possible for any company located anywhere in the United States to reach the global market. With As regulators continue to examine electronic and digital data policies, they must understand how the Internet promotes economic growth and how proposed regulations could slow or even halt that growth.”

The 17.6 million direct and indirect jobs created by the Internet represent a significant increase compared to just 3 million jobs when the IAB began measuring employment growth in 2008. Specifically, the research estimated that 850,000 people were self-employed and 450,000 worked in small businesses in Jobs cannot exist without the Internet. The study also showed that the commercial Internet directly generated seven million jobs and indirectly provided jobs for another 10.65 million people that met the service needs created by Internet-based businesses.

This study is the fourth in a series of reports measuring the economic value of the commercial internet, issued every four years since 2008.

For more information and the full report, visit here.

Please join us tomorrow, Wednesday, October 20, from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM ET for a virtual presentation of the highlights from the study “The Economic Impact of the Internet of Market Making” by Dr. John Deaton and the main point presentation for IAB experts, followed by an episode A discussion on “Harnessing the Power of Digital for Growth and Innovation” with three business founders sharing their stories and insights. Learn more about the webinar and register here.

About IAB

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. Its membership consists of more than 650 leading media companies, brands and technology companies responsible for the sale, delivery and optimization of digital advertising marketing campaigns. The trade group conducts critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the broader business community about the importance of digital marketing. In conjunction with IAB Tech Lab, IAB develops standards and technology solutions. The IAB is committed to professional development and upgrading of knowledge, skills, experience and workforce diversity across the industry. Through the work of its Office of Public Policy in Washington, D.C., the Trade Association advocates for its members and enhances the value of the interactive advertising industry to lawmakers and policy makers. Founded in 1996, IAB is headquartered in New York City.

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