Facebook Helped Create New Application Economy, Study Shows

September 19, 2011

Computer applicationsA new study released by the University of Maryland shows that the Facebook social-networking site has created a new so-called "application economy" responsible for the addition of some 182,000 new jobs and billions of dollars pumped into the U.S. economy in terms of wages and benefits.

The study, done by the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, was a partnership between the University of Maryland and Facebook. Additionally, the authors of the study indicate that that the jobs created through this new application economy might even be higher than calculated and closer to 235,000 in total, according to a news release from the Robert H. Smith School of Business. In all, it is estimated that this new sector has put between $12 and $15 billion into the U.S. economy and been the impetus for the creation of a broad number of software applications running the gamut from gaming to productivity.

Specifically, Facebook is said to be responsible for the job creation of 53,000 positions, according to the news release. Facebook users, which are said to number more than 700 million, according to TechCrunch, are thought to install some 20 million applications on a daily basis.

"Our findings confirm that social media platforms have created a thriving new industry," said Il-Horn Hann, co-author of the study along with Siva Viswanathan from the University of Maryland and Byungwan Koh from the School of Business at Manhattan College. "As Facebook and other platforms grow, we will continue to see growth and the ripple effects of these advances in the U.S. economy."

One of the successful Facebook-related companies is a software-application developer known as Zynga, which has created 'Farmville' as well as 'Mafia Wars.' Zynga, founded in 2007, is said so have more than 2,000 employees and an estimated worth of $15 to $20 billion, according to The Hill. Additionally, Playfish is another game developed for Facebook that was founded in 2007, but later purchased by Electronic Arts for $300 million in 2009, noted the study.

Facebook was launched in 2004. The company itself is a job creator with more than 2,000 employees and is experiencing rapid growth, noted Leena Rao in TechCrunch.

Job opportunities for software application developers are expected to grow by 34 percent between 2008 to 2018, according to 2009 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, software application developers earned median hourly wages of $42.21 and annual average wages of $87,790.

Compiled by Maggie O'Neill


"Computer Software Engineers and Computer Programmers," bls.gov, December 17, 2009

"Study: Facebook 'App Economy' Adds Over 200K Jobs, Contributes More than $15B to the U.S. Economy," techcrunch.com, September 19, 2011, Leena Rao

"Study: Facebook Apps Have Created 182K Jobs," thehill.com, September 19, 2011, Brendan Sasso

"UMD Study Finds Facebook Applications Create More than 182,000 New U.S. Jobs Worth $12.19B+," www.rhsmith.umd.edu, September 19, 2011

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