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ICT sector employment & labour productivity
comparison with the USA

 

ICT sector employment

In 2009, ICT Value Added was 22.3% higher in the US than in the EU though employment in the ICT industries was much lower in the US than in the EU. In 2009, over 5.3 million people worked in the ICT sector in the EU as compared with 3.4 million in the US (excluding the Trade and Repair sub-sectors) [1]. In 2008, these figures were slightly higher (5.5 million in the EU and 3.5 million in the US). The reduction from 2008 to 2009 affected both the Manufacturing and Services sectors and almost all their sub-sectors. In the EU, only two Services sub-sectors maintained or increased employment: Computer programming, consultancy and related activities (NACE 62) and Data processing, hosting and related activities; web portals (NACE 631). In the US, only the NACE 631 sub-sector managed an increase.

[1] => We did not consider ICT Trade and Repair sub-sectors in this comparison between the US and the EU, since data are not available for the US.

 

Comparison of ICT Employment between the EU and the US by sub-sectors

(thousands, 2008-2009)

 

Source: Eurostat, elaborated by Ivie and JRC-IPTS [Download full image]

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The figure below compares importance of ICT sub-sectors between the EU and US in terms of employment, by looking at their contributions to the total ICT employment. In 2009, EU ICT employment was highly concentrated in just two Services sub-sectors: Computer programming, consultancy and related activities (NACE 62), which employed almost 2.8 million people, and Telecommunications (NACE 61), which employed more than 1 million people. These two sub-sectors, together with Data processing, hosting and related activities; web portals (NACE 631), are the main contributors to higher ICT employment in the EU than in the US. These three sub-sectors together employ 80% of all ICT sector workers in the EU. Similarly, in the US, Computer programming, consultancy and related activities and Telecommunications were also the most important ICT sub-sectors in terms of employment.

 

Distribution of ICT Employment by Manufacturing and Services sub-sectors (2009)

 

Source: Eurostat, elaborated by Ivie and JRC-IPTS [Download full image]

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ICT Sector Labour Productivity

Higher ICT Value Added in the US as compared with the EU (€ 510 billion vs. € 416 billion, 2009), together with lower US ICT employment (3.4 million vs. 5.3 million, 2009), results in much higher labour productivity in the US. In 2008, and also in 2009, US ICT labour productivity was twice that of the EU (€ 152 thousand per employee vs. € 78 thousand per employee).

The US productivity lead is clear in all ICT sub-sectors. In 2009, productivity in the sub-sector Data processing, hosting and related activities; web portals (NACE 631) was € 458 thousand per employee in the US. This was almost 10 times more (!) than it was in the EU (€ 48 thousand per employee).

 

ICT Labour productivity by sub-sectors (thousand EUR per person, 2009)

 

Source: Eurostat, elaborated by Ivie and JRC-IPTS [Download full image]

 

Between 2008 and 2009, labour productivity increased by 8% in the US, whereas it contracted in the EU by 4%. In the US, ICT labour productivity in both ICT Manufacturing and ICT Services increased by 14% and 7%, respectively. In fact, it increased in almost all US ICT sub-sectors by at least 6%, with the exception of Manufacture of magnetic and optical media (NACE 268) and Data processing, hosting and related activities; web portals sub-sectors where it dropped by 18% and 15% respectively. Recall that the latter sub-sector was by far the most labour productive ICT sub-sector.

In the EU, labour productivity decreased by 3% in ICT Services and much more intensely in ICT Manufacturing (by 21%). Manufacture of magnetic and optical media (NACE 268) suffered the largest decrease – 83%. This sector in the US, however, was precisely the one with the highest gain (154%). In the EU, Software publishing (NACE 5820) had the highest growth (36%). Only two other sub-sectors had positive growth in the EU – Manufacture of consumer electronics (NACE 264) with 2% and Data processing, hosting and related activities; web portals (NACE 631) with 7%.

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