Apple’s commissioned study says tech giant helped create 514,000 U.S. jobs

March 2, 2012

Apple released a commissioned study that says the company is responsible for 514,000 jobs in the United States, even as it faces increased scrutiny for its international labor practices.

It was an unusual announcement from the technology giant, which has generally abstained from political debates about job creation. Unlike Google, Dell, Intel, Facebook and other high-tech firms, Apple does not have executives formally advising the Obama administration on how to create jobs and, until now, has not actively touted its own contributions to the economy.

But Apple, the most valuable company in the world, has been criticized for outsourcing jobs to China where workers allegedly face abusive work environments to manufacture the iPhone and iPad. The report was released just days before an expected unveiling from the company of its next tablet.

Here is how Apple got to the 514,000 figure.

There are 47,000 people who work for the company directly.

Apple commissioned the Analysis Group, a Boston-based economic consulting firm, to count indirect jobs. The consultant said that Apple helped create 257,000 jobs at component makers, health-care companies and even delivery firms such as FedEx and UPS. In counting these jobs, the consultant used a similar methodology adopted by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Apple said.

Aside from these positions, Apple used a report by the technology lobbying firm TechNet, which tallied 210,000 jobs among app developers for the company’s mobile devices. Apple, which is a member of TechNet, said it has paid $4 billion to developers from App Store sales.

On its Web site, the company also touted that its call centers are in the United States, even though moving them overseas would “reduce our costs by 50 percent or more.”

Apple has been under strict scrutiny lately for labor practices at its manufacturing facilities in China. Since conditions at these factories have caught the public’s attention, Apple has taken pains to address the negative news reports by publicly stating that it cares about each employee in its supply chain.

Apple also recently joined the Fair Labor Association, an independent group that is conducting audits of the facilities in Apple’s supply chain. The group will publicly post the results in coming months.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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