Technological innovations are rapidly changing our lives, our businesses, and our economy. Technology, no longer an isolated business sector, is a facilitator enabling innovation, growth, and the strengthening of America’s traditional business sectors. From transportation and energy to finance and medicine, businesses rely on technology to interact with their customers, improve their services, and make their operations more globally competitive. Innovative technology is deeply integrated into the economy and
is the driving force behind the creation of new jobs in science, health care, education, transportation, and more. Technology has fundamentally transformed our economy—and is poised to fuel even more growth in the future.
Overall, there were 6 million jobs in the U.S. technology industry last year, and we expect this to increase by 4.1% in 2017. Technology related jobs run the gamut—from transportation logistics and warehousing to programmers and radiologists. In 2012, economists estimated that each high-tech job in the U.S. creates five additional jobs in other local goods and services sectors across all occupations—for example, construction workers, lawyers, dentists, schoolteachers, cooks, and retail clerks.
So what is the backbone that supports the rapid growth of this sector? Data centers are facilities that house computers that store and process data, anchor our nation’s economic growth, bolster job creation, and enable globally competitive innovations. Burgeoning technologies like drones and sensors, both of which farmers use to monitor their crops and gather key information about their soil and how to increase their yields, are powered by data centers. Lifesaving gene therapies for diseases like cancer and hemophilia are powered by these centers.
Heat sensing drones deployed after natural disasters to locate survivors and deliver lifesaving equipment can arrive at the scene faster than first responders. Wearable technologies that we sport help us lead healthier lifestyles. Distance learning courses empower children and adults to learn new skills or trades to keep up with the constantly evolving job market. Innovations in science, energy, manufacturing, health care, education, transportation and many other fields—and their jobs—are being powered by data centers. But the benefits of data centers go beyond powering America’s cutting-edge innovations. The economic impact, direct and indirect, is substantial.
While being built, a typical data center employs 1,688 local workers, provides $77.7 million in wages for those workers, produces $243.5 million in output along the local economy’s supply chain, and generates $9.9 million in revenue for state and local governments. Every year thereafter, that same data center supports 157 local jobs paying $7.8 million in wages, injecting $32.5 million into the local economy, and generating $1.1 million in revenue to state and local governments. And the economic impacts don’t stop here. Opening data centers creates other real, tangible benefits for residents. Data centers directly and indirectly improve local public
infrastructure—roads, power lines, water, and sewage systems. They increase the pool of skilled workers and often attract additional centers or partner businesses.
Data centers aren’t passive bystanders—they contribute financial and other resources and collaborate with local organizations to support their communities. With 6 million jobs and 2.5 million job openings, America’s technology sector is driving economic growth, expanding global dominance in innovation and entrepreneurship, and putting Americans to work. Without data centers, we can’t power the innovations to keep our economy moving.
That’s why the U.S. Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC) works with hundreds of technology and manufacturing companies on rational policy solutions to drive economic growth and spur innovation to create jobs. To capitalize on the environment for all Americans, our companies need accelerated investment and infrastructure deployment at all levels. Too many regulatory barriers threaten infrastructure improvements. The tens of thousands of Americans working to build and operate data centers in our local communities are proof that with the right policies and investments, technology will continue to generate jobs and benefits for hardworking families.