The technology sector always seems to be in the news these days. We often see headlines that focus on what policymakers in Washington are doing or what tech leaders on the West Coast are working on. But what’s often overlooked in the latest news stories about tech is the impact that the tech industry is having everywhere else.
In fact, we almost never hear about how the tech sector, fueled by American innovation, is critical to the economic success of states and cities across the nation, not just to the coastal elites. That’s why I was intrigued when I saw a nation-wide report on the economic impact of the tech sector.
According to the report, which was released by the Consumer Technology Association, a trade association representing the U.S. consumer technology industry, tech supports 18.2 million jobs, $1.3 trillion in wages and added $2.3 trillion to the nation’s economy in 2017.
One might assume that these jobs are all located on the West Coast or in the biggest cities in the country. But you might be surprised to know that these jobs are located all over the country. In at least 20 states the consumer tech sector’s economic contribution was 10% of the state’s total GDP or higher.
The report detailed how throughout the supply chain the consumer tech industry supports a host of different jobs: memory chip makers in Boise, Idaho; cloud service providers in Raleigh, North Carolina; and employees at the Samsung distribution center in Berks County, Pennsylvania, just to name a few.
So why has the tech industry suddenly dominated the headlines?
In part, it is the result of recent criticisms and scrutiny by policymakers, including many 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. For example, Senator Elizabeth Warren uses #BreakUpBigTech across her twitter and as the Wall Street Journal described, she wants to “slice Amazon.com Inc., Facebook, and Google into several smaller companies.”
Next week, Senator Warren along with the rest of the Democratic candidates will once again be on a debate stage in Detroit, Michigan. But what they will likely fail to mention is that in Michigan alone, the consumer tech sector supports over 500,000 jobs, provides over $30 million in wages, and makes up 10% of the state’s GDP.
And it’s not just the positive economic impact that is making a difference in our lives and going undetected in the news. Consumer technology has improved our quality of life in so many ways it’s almost hard to count. From the ability to communicate with friends and family across the globe, to innovations in health care that helps us live happier, healthier lives, to expanding access to education and improving transportation. The American innovation that has fueled our technology sector has changed almost every aspect of our day-to-day lives, for the better.
No matter how easy it is for some to disparage successfully businesses, job creators are crucial to every town and city in the nation and the growth of the consumer technology sector has a positive impact on American families all across the country.
Zach Almond is the Former Chairman of the North Carolina College Republicans