Software Industry Growth Far Outpaces US Economy, Hits $1.14 Trillion

Industry supports more than 10 million US jobs, with growth in all 50 states, report finds

WASHINGTON--()--Amid discussions about the slow pace of growth in the US economy, software’s economic impact is surging – adding $1.14 trillion overall, supporting more than 10 million jobs, and propelling the economy in all 50 states. These are among the key findings in “The Growing $1 Trillion Economic Impact of Software” – the first-ever report to track the growth of software’s impact on the US economy and demonstrate how software provides a powerful spark across the country.

Among the report’s key findings: Software’s direct economic impact grew by 18.7 percent in the past two years while the US economy grew 6.7 percent. In addition, the report shows how software jobs are surging across the country – with states like Kansas and Indiana outpacing all others.

These results, and other important details highlighting the importance of the software industry can be found in the new report, the latest from the BSA Foundation.

The report’s other key findings include:

  • Software contributed more than $1.14 trillion to the total US value-added GDP in 2016 – a $70 billion increase in the past two years.
  • Software is a powerful job creator. The industry directly employs 2.9 million people in the US and supports a total of 10.5 million US jobs through indirect and induced impacts. Those numbers are up 14 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively, since 2014. In comparison, US employment grew 3.9 percent from 2014 to 2016.
  • Software drives growth in all 50 states. In 35 states, value-added GDP directly attributable to the software industry grew more than 20 percent in 2016 – with Idaho and North Carolina up more than 40 percent.
  • Software industry employment is growing fastest in some unexpected places. Kansas, Mississippi, Indiana, Idaho, and Louisiana led the way in 2016, with direct software employment in Kansas and Indiana growing more than 30 percent.
  • Growing software investments in innovation will continue to drive economic benefits. The software industry invested more than $63 billion in research and development (R&D) in 2013 (the latest year for which data was available), compared to $52 billion in 2012, representing a sizeable 21 percent increase.

This year’s report incorporates data and analysis from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and builds on a 2016 report that explored the state of the industry in 2014.

“This year’s report not only quantifies the breadth and depth of software’s impact, but also allows the first-ever comparison of how our industry is growing,” said Victoria Espinel, President of the BSA Foundation and President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance. “These gains extend far beyond the software industry; they create a ripple effect that magnifies opportunities and job growth in every industry across the country.”

In addition to tracking software’s effect on the broader US economy, the report looks at state-by-state data. In each – regardless of how big or small, rural or urban – software innovation contributes a significant economic impact by boosting employment, lifting wages, and driving investments in local research and development.

Taken as a whole, hopes this study will help policymakers and thought leaders better understand the magnitude of the widespread benefits a thriving software industry delivers. At the state level, the data give leaders a better sense of the impact of their technology initiatives and help them focus more precisely on the pragmatic policy choices that advance software-enabled gains.

“The continued growth, vitality, and innovation of the software industry depends on policies that encourage continued innovation and investment,” said Chris Hopfensperger, Executive Director of the BSA Foundation. “A thriving innovation ecosystem, in turn, will provide smarter opportunities for growing our economy, protecting the environment, boosting education, and improving public safety.”

To view’s full report, visit

About the BSA Foundation is an independent and nonpartisan international research organization established to help people better understand the impact software has on our lives, our economy, and our society. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the foundation publishes studies that examine the intersection of software and society, and it engages with policymakers and the public to inform policies that can stay ahead of cutting-edge technologies. The foundation also works directly to empower the workforce of tomorrow by encouraging a diverse community of young coders and working to increase opportunities for training and skills. Follow at @BSA_Foundation.

Contacts the BSA Foundation
Anna Hughes, 202-530-5177

Contacts the BSA Foundation
Anna Hughes, 202-530-5177