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Apple recently posted the results of an external analysis that suggested their business was responsible for supporting more than 500,000 jobs in the USA (though they only directly employ of the order of 50,000). Apple Page here.

The headline claims:

Throughout our history, Apple has created entirely new products — and entirely new industries — by focusing on innovation. As a result, we’ve created or supported more than 500,000 jobs for U.S. workers: from the engineer who helped invent the iPad to the delivery person who brings it to your door.

Is the claim reasonable or are they exaggerating?

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    Im a sure once you consider all of the people who create software for them, sell the computers, do support 500k would seem a bit on the low side. – Chad Mar 5 '12 at 22:16
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    Even taking into account only software, there are over 550,000 apps in the iOS app store, though obviously they are not all (or even most?) developed in the US. If you were to also consider people developing for the OSX desktop, as well as people working with the iTunes store, I'd say they would be most of the way to 500,000. – John Lyon Mar 5 '12 at 23:13
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    If you give credit to Apple for those jobs, where does it stop? If I successfully develop and sell iPad software, did Apple create my job or did I create Apple jobs? – Oddthinking Mar 6 '12 at 0:58
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    The transportation company would survive, but they would have to lay off drivers. All those millions of computers, iPads, and iPhones have to be shipped to stores or to homes. This connection to indirect jobs is standard economic analysis. A big factory needs employees which increases sales in grocery stores, and increases the need for infrastructure such as roads, schools, water and power. – mhoran_psprep Mar 6 '12 at 11:29
  • @Oddthinking - Both. That is the point of a modern economy. You both benefit from the other. However that is also where the stimulus counting failed. It could theoretically be responsible for the same job in several different ways but would count that job as though it was a new job even though it may have just been augmented responsibilities or may have been one job supported through 10 different provisions of the stimulus so that 1 job was counted 10 times. And in the end that job would have existed just with less responsibility even with out the stimulus. – Chad Mar 6 '12 at 14:17
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Short version: Apple appears to have used estimates of economic benefits that favour itself, but which aren't outside the plausible range. Taken with its "created or supported" claim that makes it not too inaccurate, as marketing releases go.


There are a number of articles analyzing this statement by Apple. Three good ones are:

The consensus from the articles is that Apple isn't entirely responsible for 500,000 jobs. It's an economic calculation, with some standard, but disputable, factors thrown in.

A number of companies, including Microsoft, have commissioned similar research aiming to tally up such indirect employment by suppliers and other partners. The use of “job multipliers” has become common practice, sometimes by businesses lobbying for tax breaks from local and state governments.But the calculations of such multipliers are often fiercely debated both in economic and political terms. For instance, the Congressional Budget Office, which calculated the impact of the 2009 federal stimulus on jobs, has set estimates that vary between as few as 1.6 million jobs and as many as 8.4 million jobs.

However, Apple isn't actually claiming that all those jobs would vanish without it. It specifically says "created or supported" that many jobs. "Supported" means the job wouldn't go away of Apple were to vanish tomorrow.

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    "not too inaccurate, as marketing releases go" Hehehehe. Nice. Not a particularly high threshold, however. – dmckee Jul 23 '12 at 15:48

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