Internet growth

The Internet’s expansion has probably been the signature feature of our economy over the last two decades. Almost every day we hear of new applications and uses. Has anyone calculated just how much of our recent economic growth has been due to the Internet? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden responds.

“Well … as an industry the Internet is still rather small — … accounts directly for about 4 percent of our economy. But a think tank recently did look at the Internet and try to ascertain, well, how much has that 4 percent had an impact on the economy. And it’s enormous. But one estimate is that 15 percent of all the growth in the last decade in countries like the U.S. and European countries like Sweden and Germany (has) been due to the Internet. Also, it’s estimated that every job created in the Internet section — Internet part — of our economy creates another 2.5 jobs economy wide.

“Companies that use the Internet on a regular basis have been found to grow twice as fast as companies that don’t use the Internet. And currently there are about 2 billion Internet users worldwide. And that number is expected to climb.

“So, bottom line here: The Internet is a big part of our economy, and it’s a major force in economic growth. And it’s likely to become even more so down the road.”

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