Subcommittee Explores State of the Apps Economy

September 12, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Continuing its “Where the Jobs Are” hearing series, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade today heard from a panel of witnesses on the growing demand for jobs within the applications (apps) marketplace. A rare bright spot in our struggling economy, the apps industry, particularly for mobile devices, is fueling job growth in towns and cities across the country.

“Through American innovation and ingenuity – we’re rapidly becoming a world where there’s literally ‘An App for Everything,'” stated Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Mary Bono Mack (R-CA). “Today, there are apps to lose weight, quit smoking, examine your stock portfolio, review restaurants, watch videos, check up-to-date scores of your favorite sports team, witness breaking-news events worldwide, post on Facebook, tweet to the world in 140-character bursts, and on and on. According to a recent New York Times article, there were about 8,000 mobile apps in 2008. Today, there are more than 1.3 million, and they’re multiplying rapidly.”

Morgan Reed, testifying on behalf of the Association for Competitive Technology, highlighted a 2011 study by the organization, stating, “the current mobile apps economy has created, saved, or supplemented more than 600,000 jobs nationwide across iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7 and Blackberry platforms.”

While other sectors of the economy continue to see regulatory hurdles impacting their ability to create new jobs, the apps economy is relatively open space. “The barriers to entry to developing apps are fairly low; if you have a computer, broadband connection, and the right skills and software, … you can start coding,” explained Rey Ramsey with TechNet.

This freedom to innovate has allowed the apps marketplace to steadily grow and consumers are responding, with apps downloads surpassing 60 billion. Peter Farago, Vice President of Marketing for Flurry, Inc., explained that consumers are willing to pay for those apps in high demand, making app development a lucrative and appealing business. He stated, “The net result is that the new app economy is made up of consumers who spend money, dramatically increasing the value of this market for businesses.”

“There are too few bright spots creating jobs in our economy right now, but surely one of the brightest is the birth and growth of the app marketplace. This is one of the most exciting areas of technology, with tremendous growth in recent years – growth that experts agree we can expect to continue,” stated Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).

Fueled by an open and free market, the dramatic growth in the apps marketplace is an example for how we can get our country working again. With over 30 bipartisan jobs bills stuck in the Democrat-controlled Senate, the House Republican Plan for America’s Job Creators encompasses many of the lessons learned from the growing app economy to create jobs in other sectors of our economy.