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Facebook 'app economy' has created more than 182,000 jobs, study says

Facebook app The Dark Knight

Facebook apps and mobile apps on smartphones and tablets have, according to the University of Maryland, given rise to a new industry that it calls the "app economy."

And the app industry is one of the few segments of the overall economy that is seeing rapid growth, the University says in a new study put together by professors at the university's Smith School of Business.

Their study, called "The Facebook App Economy," said at least 182,000 new jobs have been created by businesses in the U.S. making apps specifically for Facebook, the world's most popular social network with more than 750 million users.

The University of Maryland study also said its economic models for coming up with its employment estimates for the Facebook app economy has generated a value about $12.19 billion in wages and benefits for U.S. workers.

But those estimates are on the conservative side, the university said in its study.

"Using more aggressive estimates, the Facebook App Economy created 235,644 jobs, adding a value of $15.71 billion dollars to the U.S. economy," the study said.

The businesses in the app economy, however, aren't just made up of companies that make game apps, or sharing apps, or news reading apps, or apps to buy laundry detergent and other goods though Facebook. The app economy also includes "businesses that supply app developers," which in doing business with app makers have themselves added "between 129,000 to more than 182,000 people" to "jobs supported by the app economy," the study said.

These peripheral jobs have an estimated value of about $12.19 billion to as much as $15.71 billion to the U.S. economy, the study said.

The study also forecasts that more growth from app-making firms is on the way.

"Our findings confirm that social media platforms have created a thriving new industry," Il-Horn Hann,  co-director of the University of Maryland's Center for Digital Innovation, Technology and Strategy and an information systems professor, said in a statement. "As Facebook and other platforms grow, we will continue to see job growth and the ripple effects of these advances in the U.S. economy."

Check out Hann talking about his study in a video produced by the University of Maryland below.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of a Warner Bros. app that allows users to watch "The Dark Knight" on Facebook. Credit: Facebook

 
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