Apple’s real market value: How many U.S. jobs it creates

“The death of Steve Jobs was followed by an avalanche of superlatives – brilliant, genius, and visionary among the more common. He was likened to Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison,” Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele write for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“But in the case of Edison, there was one significant difference that went unmentioned. For more than a century, just one of Edison’s inventions alone – the incandescent lightbulb – was manufactured at numerous locations in the United States, providing employment for millions of Americans across family generations,” Barlett and Steele write. “The Apple home computer, not at all. After only one generation, all the Apple manufacturing jobs in America disappeared, as the work of building and assembling the machines was turned over to laborers in sweatshops in China and other countries. Jobs that should have provided employment for Americans for decades to come were terminated.”

Barlett and Steele write, ” Rather than open new plants in other U.S. cities and expand existing operations, the company, as other computer- and electronics-makers were also doing, moved production offshore, largely to China.”

Full hit piece – Think Before You Click™here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple wouldn’t exist as they are now if they had to try to sell products made in the U.S., at U.S. wages, against rivals assembling their products for much less outside the U.S. Obviously, to anyone not named Donald L. Barlett or James B. Steele, factory assembly jobs are not the only type of jobs that Apple creates. If Bartlett and Steele could see the whole picture, they’d be praising Apple for creating so many U.S. employment opportunities in a tough economy that’s been struggling with job creation for quite some time now. (Please see related articles below for more info.)

“A study by researchers at UC Irvine found that the iPod was responsible for creating nearly 14,000 jobs in the United States and another 27,000 abroad,” Bill Snyder reports for InfoWorld. “And those numbers are a few years old. Given the age of the product today, the iPod may not be generating many new jobs, but think of the positions that have been created subsequently by the far more complex iPhone and iPad.”

“Sure, the iPod, iPad, and iPhone are assembled in Asia. But the real value in those products was added in Cupertino, Calif. — part of Silicon Valley — where they were invented, and in the offices and cubicles of developers around the country who crank out the apps that make the iPad and the iPhone so useful,” Snyder reports. “The offshore jobs are mostly in low-wage manufacturing, while the jobs in the states are more evenly divided between high-wage engineers and managers and lower-wage retail and nonprofessional workers. As a result of this and of cross-country wage differences, U.S. workers earned a total of $753 million, while workers outside the country earned $318 million, the researchers found.

Snyder reports, “The conclusion of that report argues directly against one of the most pervasive myths of today’s economy: U.S. workers and the middle class are not reaping the gains of the high-tech economy.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Lee Maxwell” and “Winston” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
iOS developer salaries skyrocket – November 9, 2011
How many U.S. jobs has Apple’s iPod created? – July 8, 2011

29 Comments

    1. The jobs’ situation was created by the “experts” of Wall Street whose advice and so-called wisdom was followed as gospel truth by the CEOs of practically of every company and politician in the United States, and by extension the whole world. Wall Street’s dictum is that the bottom line should be the most important guide by which every company should be judged on matters of business viability and sustainability. Wall Street promotes short short-termism over long-termism; debt-financing over fiscal discipline; market-share over profitability; the importance of accountants and marketing experts over other critical managers and engineers; globalization over local conditions. Even if a company is healthy, it can be broken up by Wall-Street’s corporate raiders. Labor and talents are only commodities to be subjugated to the law of short-termism. That why over the years massive number of jobs were shipped over to countries such as China, India and the East European countries to fit in with Wall Street’s diktat. It took only a short 20 years for the US to lose its leadership as a creditor to a debtor country.

      Wall Street has destroyed the economies of the US and Europe with its theory of greed.

      Apple is one of the rare companies that has not heeded the dictates of Wall Street and is able to withstand the ravages of time to rise to the rank of the most valuable company in the world in a matter of a decade.

  1. A while back I looked up Apple’s employment stats thru its 10Ks. I came up with about 27,500 jobs created over the last 5 years in the US, with 2/3rds being retail, and 1/3rd being engineering and others.

    1. And if Edison were alive and inventing the lightbulb today, with current conditions, his bulb wouldn’t be produced here. Conversely, if SJ and Apple were a reality at the time of Edison, Apple WOULD be produced in the USA. Different times, can’t really make a comparison. STUPID article. hit whores

  2. I have a fundamental problem with this argument. Are Americans better than Chinese? Is this the same as in the past when whites were considered better than blacks?

    1. Nope, not better. This is just continuing the trend started in the late 60s early 70s when cheap crap from Japan started rolling in, from electronics to cars. The American people started the cheaper is better mentality, and US manufacturing jobs started going overseas.

      We are just at a state where our country produces ideas and concepts, and for better or worse, the fabrication of those ideas is done somewhere else

  3. Okay, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE needs to read the WSJ article about Steve Jobs’ meeting with Obama. If you Google it, it will bypass the subscription. This is another classic example of political stupidity.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203687504577003763659779448.html

    I quote:

    “According to Mr. Isaacson, Jobs “stressed the need for more trained engineers and suggested that any foreign students who earned an engineering degree in the U.S. should be given a visa to stay in the country.” The president reportedly replied that this would have to await broader immigration reform, which he said he was unable to accomplish.

    “Jobs found this an annoying example of how politics can lead to paralysis,” Mr. Isaacson writes. “The president is very smart, but he kept explaining to us reasons why things can’t get done,” Jobs said. “It infuriates me.”

    Jobs told Mr. Obama that Apple employs 700,000 factory workers in China because it can’t find the 30,000 engineers in the U.S. that it needs on site at its plants. “If you could educate these engineers,” he said at the dinner, “we could move more manufacturing jobs here.”

    One of the benefits of free trade, including in the movement of labor, is that skills would go where they are most valued. Jobs made the point that Silicon Valley is mystified by a policy that instead educates foreigner engineers at top U.S. universities, then sends them home immediately.

    Among the attendees at the dinner was venture capitalist John Doerr, who during an Internet conference in 2008 described the absurdity memorably: “I would staple a green card to the diploma of anyone that graduates with a degree in the physical sciences or engineering in the U.S.”

    Foreign nationals in the U.S. now account for 70% of doctorates in electrical engineering and half the master’s degrees. They would be more productive if permitted to remain in the U.S. Academic studies estimate that a quarter of technology businesses started in the U.S. since 1995 have had at least one foreign-born founder. Half of Silicon Valley startups are founded by foreigners.

    The U.S. issues 140,000 green cards a year, which is not enough to meet demand even in this soft economy. Worse yet, the work-permit laws say that the residents of no country can get more than 7% of the permits. This is fine for Andorra and Liechtenstein but not for India and China, which have 18% and 19% of the world’s population, respectively. The National Foundation for American Policy calculates the 7% limit means a backlog of 70 years of applications from prospective Indian workers and 20 years from Chinese ones. ”

    MDN needs to post a summary of this article. MDN referenced this meeting but didn’t talk about the American jobs discussion. If America would keep foreign engineers here, we would have more manufacturing jobs here.

    1. A further discussion is also necessary as to why there are insufficient AMERICAN engineering graduates that domestic companies really, really want foreign ones.

      Cost of education too high for American students?

      Not enough perceived post-undergrad work at decent wages?

      Engineering and sciences looked down upon as “uncool” by American born kids?

      I also disagree that relaxing immigration rules is all that’s necessary to bring manufacturing back to the US. Clearly the low labour costs and fewer environmental regulations in China and other developing countries are key to maintaining lower prices and competitive advantage (or at least par) versus other companies.

      1. Absolutely, American schools should be preparing students for engineering degrees.

        But in the mean time, I have no problem allowing well-educated, foreigners, who have used our universities to get their skills, to get on the fast track for green cards.

        Apple is apparently willing to move jobs back to the U.S. if they can find the engineering manpower to oversee those jobs. The immigration laws should not be a barrier to that option.

  4. Yeah apple has created more than just direct jobs. Tech companies that create platforms like Apple and *cough* microsoft create industries that provide jobs far beyond their own employment numbers.

    When you can build a factory without a bunch of legal red tape in the US then maybe we’ll see some jobs return in manufacturing. Im not holding my breath.

  5. As usual, the MDN Knee-jerk Republican reaction is WRONG.

    If we had a truly equitable tade policy and truly free markets the US would still have millions of jobs it has lost. However, under decades of deluded crony capitalism we have lost millions of jobs and the economic advantage that would have provided.

    There is no free market, has never been a free market and never will be. Governments establish the markets, define the markets and provide for the means of exchange (currency). The only differences between nations are the rules themselves- not the fact that there are rules.

    What we have had fostered upon us in the name of a free market is a corrupt system of crony capitaliasm that provides for largely free movement of capital for corporations and the very wealthy and economic serfdom for the bulk of the people. Companies and ultra wealthy individuals are allowed to move at will throughout much of the world while most ordinary people suffer under restrictive visa, immigration and currency control rules.

    Businesses in America live at the public trough. Every business milks the feds, states and local governments for tax abatements, subsidies, sweetheart deals and all the rest.

    Why, for instance, should a municipality fund the construction of a stadium for a sports team owned by a Billionare that is capable of signing players to salalries in the tens of millions annually? Eff the owners. Let them build their own damned stadium or arena.

    The problem with the whole free market capitalism mantra is that is is theoretical and does not exist. When I can decide to relocate to Australia, for instance, and pick up and go without the endless paerwork, rules, applications, approvals and such- I will agree to your free market arguements about lowering regulations upon business. Until then, it’s just a bunch of uproven theory.

    1. Your point about taxpayer money going to major sports facilities dovetails nicely with my comment higher up, asking if the lack of American engineering grads is due in part to engineering and science being looked down on as “uncool”.

      All through school and college it’s sports that gets public attention. In grade and high school especially, the jocks are teh shitz and everyone wants to be them, homecoming is again centered around sports, while geeks (science and arts both) are marginalized (though once you hit college/university things improve on that front–sciences and engineering make up probably close to half the faculties in the major colleges/universities).

      It continues in general society–entertainment is more important than intelligence, because the media, their sponsors, and politicians have recognized that tweaking emotions (us vs them, laughter, etc) is far more profitable than intellectual discourse.

      Sports will continue getting gobs of taxpayer money because the return is immediately obvious–spend X, get X*3 back in direct and secondary revenue within a year or three (taxes on tickets, business, property). Engineering and science? It’s harder to measure, and results are usually longer term. Witness the howls of outrage that NASA keeps getting funded, even though they only get about 0.5% of the entire US federal budget (anyone want to guess the percentage spent on military, medicare, and other social services?)

  6. I guess all those apps developers aren’t holding jobs then by their account. But I do. My guess is that for each app on the Appstore, 1 person is employed as a result. By that count, Apple has created 500,000+ so jobs. That’s in addition to the 20,000+ jobs in Apple retail and another 20,000+ outside of retail. So in total, Apple has created at least about 550,000 jobs. But I’m sure there are more elsewhere.

  7. Very few people make money off of the app store let alone enough to survive on. It doesn’t create any jobs. It only takes away jobs from professional software engineers since people now expect app for free or near free.

  8. According to the article, average wage in US in 2006 for Apple related jobs was $53K. Outside US was $11K. That is a big difference and note that the US jobs include retail staff in the stores that garner lower wages.

    If anyone can remember back to 2002 they will know that Apple manufactured their macs in the US. They had a hard time getting out products out and new releases took 3 months to ship. Part of this was issues with the PPC CPU and some manufacturing issues. Apple have changed their inventory demands completely around by switching to Intel and shipping manufacturing overseas.

    Jobs made the point that the problem in manufacturing is not cheap labor but actually availability of skilled engineers to get the production up to speed and keeping it running.

    In the US that skill set is not there anymore. Maybe the iBook initiative is Apple’s way of creating a better infrastructure for education so that they can develop people with the skill sets they need.

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