2012-02-07 / World

Looking for work? There may be an app for that

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Looking for a promising career in a lousy economy? A new study suggests you’re apt to find it in apps — the services and tools built to run on smartphones, computer tablets and Facebook’s online social network.

The demand for applications for everything ranging from games to quantum physics has created 466,000 jobs in the U. S. since 2007, according to an analysis released today by technology trade group TechNet.

The estimate counts 311,000 jobs at companies making the apps and another 155,000 at local merchants who have expanded their payrolls in an economic ripple effect caused by increased spending at their businesses.

The study asserts this socalled “app economy” is still in the early stages of a boom driven by the mobile computing and social networking crazes unleashed by Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Facebook’s online hangout.

“ This is a telescope into what the future looks like,” said Michael Mandel, the economist hired by TechNet to put together the report. “This is one part of the economy that is actually expanding and hiring. Once you point people in that direction, they can realign their compass pretty quickly.”

Apps makers were adding jobs even when the overall U. S. unemployment rate climbed to as high as 10 percent in late 2009, Mandel said. That bodes well for even more vigorous growth if the economy can extend a gradual recovery from the Great Recession. The national unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent in January, the lowest level in three years.

Government labor statistics don’t yet track jobs focused on apps, partly because the market is still relatively new. That prompted TechNet to try to fill the void. The 15-year-old group represents executives at companies that employ more than 2 million people and generate more than $800 billion in annual revenue combined.

The app economy began to percolate in 2007 — the year that Apple introduced the iPhone and Facebook turned its website into a platform for other programs designed for its rapidly growing audience.

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