Economic study finds internet contributes 230K jobs, $81B to GDP in Washington State

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Contact: Dayna Lurie

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 Local businesses join a coalition to share how their businesses benefit from the internet.

March 29, 2022

Seattle, WA. – After a recent economic study finds direct links between the internet ecosystem and economic growth in Washington State, Washington-based business owners join the national coalition, Internet for Growth, to help tell their individual stories of how they and their businesses have benefited from the internet ecosystem.

The Economic Impact of the Market-Making Internet, a study released every four years by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), finds that the internet contributed $81.1 billion to the state’s GDP in 2020, and accounts for around 230,000 jobs in Washington.

The growth in Washington State’s internet jobs has been remarkable, going from around 65,000 in 2012 to 230,000 in 2020—a growth rate of 254 percent.

Recently, the IAB helped launched a national coalition, Internet for Growth, to help capture the stories of the millions of creators, entrepreneurs, and small businesses that rely on the ad-supported internet so that as policy makers consider regulations, they have a full understanding of how the internet is being used to help grow and transform our economy. Internet for Growth has more than 300 small business members including several based in Washington, including Brandy Miller with Miller Girls Dog Walking Services in White Salmon, WA and Logan Niles with The Pot Pie Factory in West Seattle.

“This growth shows clearly how critical the internet really is to the economy in Washington State, for businesses of every size and across every sector,” said Miller.  “That’s why I’ve joined the Internet for Growth coalition. I want policymakers to understand how critical the internet has been to my business and how important it is to every part of our state’s economy.”

According to the study, six of Washington’s 10 Congressional districts have at least 10,000 internet-dependent jobs. In two of those districts, internet-related jobs employ at least nine percent of the population.

This dramatic job growth can be attributed to a number of factors, including the internet’s ability to improve and refine advertising and marketing approaches, particularly for small businesses.

“The internet lowers cost to entry for all businesses, but it provides a significant benefit to small businesses,” said Niles. “Small businesses and the self-employed created 38 percent of internet jobs—a larger percentage than medium (28%) or large firms (34%). This clearly shows how the internet democratizes business creation, allowing the smallest of firms to compete.”

“I rely on the internet for the majority of my sales” said Niles”

Nationally, the study finds that the internet economy grew seven times faster than the overall total US economy, creating more than 7 million jobs in the last four years.

About Internet for Growth

Internet for Growth, an initiative of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, supports the transformative role the advertising-supported internet plays in empowering America’s small businesses, helping entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life. Supported by a diverse community of over 700 IAB members including marketers, agencies, publishers, platforms, and ad tech providers, as well as hundreds of small businesses and creators, we highlight the benefits the internet delivers to local economies, expanding opportunities for innovators to reach markets far beyond their neighborhoods. Our work ensures people understand the limitless opportunity the internet provides for creativity and commerce, fair competition, and connecting with consumers on mutually shared values and interests, no matter the background or geography.

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The internet levels the playing field, lowering barriers for entry, and democratizing ownership, enabling even the smallest storefronts to drive economic results in every state across the U.S. Subscribe to stay up to date with the latest news and stories from Internet for Growth.