It’s no secret that innovation drives America’s economy and that semiconductors, as the foundation of modern technology, have given rise to countless new industries and the jobs that come with them. A recent SIA analysis of government data shows the extent of the semiconductor industry’s tremendous impact on job creation and economic growth.
According to the analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the U.S. semiconductor industry now employs almost 250,000 workers directly and supports more than 1 million additional jobs throughout the broader U.S. economy. These supported jobs do not even include the millions of downstream electronics jobs in the U.S. that semiconductors enable. Instead, this figure only comprises the jobs created by the semiconductor industry in supplier sectors, as well as jobs created through re-spending effects of semiconductor workers.
Total direct U.S. semiconductor employment—estimated at 244,800—is significantly higher than employment in any other electronic component industry in the United States. And the semiconductor industry added jobs three times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy in 2011, the most recent year of available data. According to BLS, the semiconductor industry’s manufacturing workforce grew by 3.7 percent over the previous year, while jobs throughout the broader U.S. economy increased by 1.2 percent over the same time period.
Additionally, the BLS data show that the U.S. semiconductor industry has broadened its reach and now employs Americans in most states and regions of the country, from California and Texas to Florida, Massachusetts and New York, and most places in between. California leads all states with 47,100 direct semiconductor jobs, followed by Texas (28,800), Oregon (23,400), Arizona (18,800), Massachusetts (10,100), New York (7,600), Idaho (7,400), Florida (7,100), Vermont (5,100) and New Mexico (4,500).
Even more compelling is that each direct semiconductor industry job throughout the U.S. enables 4.89 jobs in other sectors of the economy, illustrating the industry’s tremendous ripple effect on the broader U.S. economy. The semiconductor industry’s employment multiplier figure is higher than that of the construction industry (1.90), the communications industry (2.52), and the automobile industry (4.64), among many others. The employment multiplier for the overall manufacturing sector is 2.91. For more detailed information and methodology, please view SIA’s Employment Issue Paper.
Taken together, the new data demonstrate that semiconductor employment is strong, broad-based, growing and highly impactful on the U.S. economy, but the industry’s greatest potential still lies ahead. Our leaders in Washington should enact policies that embrace innovation and allow the semiconductor industry to continue to broaden its workforce and expand its influence on U.S. job creation and economic growth.
SIA is working to encourage congress and the administration to take prompt action on policy initiatives—such as high-skilled immigration reform, corporate tax reform, and support for scientific research—that spur growth in manufacturing and technology industries. [See SIA’s 2013 Policy Roadmap]
With effective government policies like these that encourage growth and remove barriers to innovation, the semiconductor industry will continue to drive America’s economic strength, national security and global competitiveness.
Brian Toohey is president and CEO of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), the voice of the U.S. semiconductor industry in Washington, D.C.