While Washington Criticizes Lost Jobs, Apple Creates Hundreds Of Thousands of New Ones

While Washington Criticizes Lost Jobs, Apple Creates Hundreds Of Thousands of New Ones

During the past few weeks, one quote from Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography has bounced around the tech and mainstream media. It’s the quote where President Obama asked Jobs about Apple manufacturing jobs that had been shipped oversees and Jobs responds “those jobs aren’t coming back” – words the President decided to ignore during his State of the Union speech last month. Instead, Obama called on tech companies to bring those jobs back.

With all due respect to the White House, it seems pretty likely that those jobs aren’t coming back. Anyone that doubts that needs to reread the first New York Times piece on Apple’s manufacturing partners. The U.S. simply cannot match the manufacturing capacity in China and elsewhere. Get over it. Those jobs are gone but that doesn’t mean Apple and other tech companies aren’t creating new jobs right here at home. In fact, Apple and other tech company have create an entire to category of jobs and filled half a million of them with American workers.

For years, there’s been questions and speculation about how many jobs Apple’s App Store and similar marketplaces for other mobile and web platforms have created. Today, a study sponsored by bipartisan coalition TechNet and carried out by Dr. Michael Mandel of South Mountain Economics has answered that question. The emerging “app economy” has created 466,000 jobs in the U.S. – no small feat given the current economic climate and considering there was no such thing as an App Economy five years ago.

This so-called app economy includes mobile platform app markets like Apple’s App Store as well as app creators like Zynga that focus on social media and web platforms like Facebook. The companies thriving in this new market expected powerhouses like Zynga and Electronic Arts as well as smaller independent app shops. They also include jobs at the companies running the various app stores and services like Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon. Increasingly, an app-focused culture will also create a swath of under-the-radar jobs at enterprise companies to create inter all apps for the staff of those companies.

While these jobs are focused on app development, they aren’t all development jobs. Other critical job titles for the app economy include graphic and interface designers, marketing specialists, project managers and support staff. There is also some spillover into traditional fields for industry-specific apps – healthcare professionals for medical apps being one example.

In a global society, the truth is that not all of these app-related jobs will be created in the U.S. and even those that are will tend to be located in tech-centric locales. California, for example, houses about a quarter of U.S. app economy jobs. A separate study found that 232,000 Facebook app-related jobs have been created in Europe.

Still, the study proves that tech companies are created hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs for Americans. They aren’t the jobs that the country has lost, but they are good ones and they are forward-looking 21st century jobs.

Quite frankly, these are jobs that American politicians should be partnering with American tech companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook to create and encourage instead of castigating and punishing them for jobs that the U.S. simply cannot create in a global marketplace.

These are the kinds of jobs that are ideal for a new generation of Americans – and these are the jobs that are America’s to lose  if its leaders remain stuck in the past rather the looking at the world realistically so that they can be a partner in 21st century American job creation.

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  • JonnyR78

    Look, Cult Of Mac bloggers, can you please just accept that your knowledge of IPE, Globalization and Economics is pathetic and that it is best if you just stay out of the whole Apple / job creating / China sweatshop workers stuff.

    1. The jobs that Steve Jobs said are not coming back could quite easily return if companies such as Apple wanted to train people or employ existing manufacturing techniques. When has an electronics company tried to develop a local manufacturing base and failed? When have they looked for the workers and not found them? The argument that they are gone forever is an entirely self-fulfilling prophecy

    2. Apple profits could easily fund manufacturing training programmes and apprentice schemes and their executives would still be millionaires, profits would still be huge.

    3. Finally, if Apple was as brave and forward thinking as it likes to suggest, why not advertise this idea? Imagine, tech that was not just the worlds most advanced, but also the worlds most ethical!

  • Atienne

    I’d just be happy if someone, anyone would just stand up and tell the truth. That truth being that there just aren’t as many jobs as there used to be and we are just going to have to re-engineer our cultures to accept that. 

    We used to have people on scaffolding cleaning skyscraper windows. Now we have machines.

    We used to have janitors to mop floors, now we have little robots.

    We used to pick fruit by hand, now we have picking machines.

    We used to have welders on the assembly line, now we have robots.

    We used to have gas station attendants, now it’s DIY.

    We used to have bank tellers, now we have ATM’s

    Shall I go on…. 

  • aardman

    Those manufacturing jobs are labor intensive, low tech piece work assembly jobs that the US should desire if and only if we aspire to become a 3rd World country.  Get over your Foxconn envy boys and girls.  

    The jobs we need to be worrying about are the ones involved in the manufacture of carbon nanotubes, high temp superconductors, quantum processors, high efficiency solar cells, and other products OF THE FUTURE.

    And we are not worrying about them enough because if we were, we would be all up in arms over the fact that the best and brightest of our young men and women are not working as engineers, physicists, chemists, and research biologists.  Instead they’re down in Wall Street devising the next new derivative that will part us fools from our money all over again.

    A materials scientist getting paid $150K a year to investigate ways to mass produce nanotubes contributes way more to the nation’s wellbeing than a Wall Street ‘financial engineer’ getting paid $20 million to accumulate liar loan mortgages and miraculously package them into triple-A rated mortgage-backed bonds.

    If people truly understood what those fat cats in Wall Street have done, and continue to do, to all of us we would be converging in Manhattan with torches and pitchforks in hand.

  • aardman

    I think you need to take your own advice and not pretend to be an authority on Globalization and Economics.  It will take too long to explain to you why what your are recommending for Apple to do is a total misuse of resources.  

    Suffice to say that what you are saying is no different from recommending that if a person happens to be the best Zamboni driver in the world but only the 2nd best hockey player, he should ditch the NHL and pursue a career as a Zamboni driver.

    Those Foxconn jobs are gone forever unless you are willing to pay pauper’s wages here in the States. (Assuming you can find enough people willing to work for pauper’s wages.)

    Now the only way iPhone assembly can be brought back here is if Apple or someone can build a super efficient, highly automated factory. The catch though is that such a factory provides very few jobs. And by the very fact that we don’t see such a factory, it’s obvious that that type of factory isn’t technologically or economically feasible yet, isn’t it?

  • aardman

    You should continue on to say that we should be manufacturing the machines that replaced those jobs, or the machines that build the machines that replaced those jobs.

  • Alex


    he emerging “app economy” has created 466,000 jobs in the U.S. ”

    And what do those jobs pay ? Because lets face it the fast majority of apps  aren’t successful and generate very little revenue.

  • sn0wball

    i work for a company that tests and fixes bugs for many diff apps. and they pay me good. so heres to that

  • Alex

    So those guys outsource ?  I wonder how many of those jobs are outside the US ?

  • sn0wball

    a lot. we have offices in Denver, Europe and India.

  • CharliK

    In some of those cases it is better to have machines. Keeps human lives safe instead of risking falls etc. 

  • CharliK

    Depends on how good you are. If you put the time and effort into it you can end up with returns that are paying you well above what you might make in a ‘real’ job. 

    Most of the apps that aren’t successful or profitable are crappy and sloppily done or the designer isn’t willing to put any effort into really marketing it. 

  • Atienne

    OK, but not really my point…. The point is that there ARE LESS Jobs than there used to be. 

    List #2:

    Envelope stuffers = Now automated. (only danger was a paper cut)

    Grocery or Home Depot Cashiers – Do it yourself. (Don’t stare into the laser)

    Grocery Baggers: (Eggs on Top – Not much danger there)

    Airport Tram Drivers  - Now automated. (Hold on when it says hold on)

    Mail Delivery People = EMAIL  (Don’t need as many)

    Mail Sorters = (Now automated)

    Package sorters for ALL Delivery companies = Automated Scanners

    GET THE POINT?

  • HerbalEd

    No fruit picking machines. Still migrate workers. 

  • HerbalEd

    There are plenty of IT and high-tech jobs. However, the USA education system is so bad that we have to import engineers, technicians, etc. from India and other countries to do the work. 

    IMO, poor education and lazy students are the major factor in the devolution of  American jobs, and America in general.

  • Atienne

    Whats This Then: 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  • Atienne

    Which would be great if everybody was in IT. 

  • Atienne

    Which would be great if everybody was in IT. 

  • Atienne

About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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