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Six Tech Industries Accounted for More Than One-Third of GDP Growth in the Last Decade

Six Tech Industries Accounted for More Than One-Third of GDP Growth in the Last Decade

May 30, 2023

The production side of the GDP account (as opposed to the income side) is the sum of real value added of 71 industries, from the smallest (apparel and leather and allied products) to the largest (housing).

Over time, some actually shrink. In fact, 19 industries shrank in the decade between 2013 and 2022. Among them, inflation-adjusted value-added output in coal and petroleum products fell the most of any industry, 23 percent.

However, some industries grow significantly. In fact, just 14 of the 71 industries accounted for more than 80 percent of GDP growth in the same period.

What is striking is that 6 of these 14 growth industries—together accounting for 35 percent of U.S. economic growth in the last decade—are tech sectors: data processing, Internet publishing, and other information services; computer systems design and related services; publishing industries, except Internet (which includes software); broadcasting and telecommunications; other retail (which is mostly e-commerce); and computer and electronic products. And this doesn’t include miscellaneous professional, scientific, and technical services, which includes computer systems design, an industry whose sales almost doubled over the last decade.

Figure 1: Selected industries’ share of U.S. GDP growth, 2013–2022 (broadly defined tech industries in orange)


In other words, the tech sector, defined broadly, has been the major economic growth engine for the U.S. economy. What makes this all the more striking is that many policymakers, including in the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice, are seeking to enact policies to slow the growth of these sectors.

Rather than complaining about these economic growth engines and trying to throw sand in their gears, policymakers should be celebrating their success and seeking to support them as they power even more growth.

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