Software Supports US Economy During COVID-19 Pandemic, New Study Finds

The software industry made the remote economy possible and sustained millions of jobs across the country

WASHINGTON, May 4, 2021 – In 2020, the software industry supported more than 12.5 million jobs outside the tech sector – an increase of 5.5 percent since 2018. Software solutions powered Americans’ personal and professional lives, making it possible for people to do their jobs and connect with loved ones remotely.

“Software: Supporting US Through COVID,” a new report from the BSA Foundation, tells the story of software in an unprecedented year. As the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprise software provided the infrastructure that made the virtual economy possible – helping teachers connect with students, medical researchers accelerate vaccine development, small businesses move online, and so much more.

The report, which measures software’s impact on the US economy with data and analysis from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), explores the growth of the software industry between 2018 and 2020 and measures its contributions to value-added GDP, job growth, and wage growth in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Key findings include:

  • The software industry supported jobs across the country throughout the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, software supported more than 15.8 million jobs in total – up 5.9 percent since 2018.
  • In 2020, 3.3 million people worked directly in software jobs in the United States – up 7.2 percent over 2018.
  • Software supported $1.9 trillion in total US value-added GDP in 2020 – a 17.1 percent increase in two years. Software’s economic impact far outpaced the 2 percent growth of total US GDP over that same period.
  • The software industry directly contributed $933 billion to the US economy in 2020 – a 15.1 percent increase since 2018.
  • Between 2018 and 2020, the software industry’s economic impact grew by double digits in more than half of US states and the District of Columbia. In three states – Idaho, Nevada, and Washington – growth was up by more than 25 percent.
  • The software industry supported future growth by investing more than $103 billion in R&D in 2018 – more than 27 percent of all domestic business R&D in the United States.

“Software played an instrumental role throughout the pandemic – easing many Americans’ transition to remote work, empowering manufacturers to rapidly shift to producing medical and personal protective equipment, and helping small businesses connect with customers online,” said Victoria Espinel, President of the BSA Foundation and President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance. “During a difficult year, software supported more than 15.8 million jobs across sectors. Meanwhile, the need for software skills continues to increase, further underscoring the need for retraining programs that will equip more Americans with the skills to take advantage of growing opportunities in the digital economy.”, an independent and nonpartisan international research organization, developed “Software: Supporting US Through COVID” to calculate software’s economic impact on the US economy and help policymakers and leaders craft policies that ensure that the benefits created by the software industry are accessible to all. This year’s update builds upon previous reports with an analysis of the most recent data (from 2020) to quantify the breadth and depth of software’s impact and to show the rate at which these software opportunities are growing over time.

“The software industry sustained millions of jobs in 2020 – and the creation of new software jobs will be essential to future economic growth,” said Chris Hopfensperger, Executive Director of the BSA Foundation. “The benefits of the software industry aren’t limited to large cities or traditional tech hubs. In 2020, software job growth surged in several states that we don’t usually associate with the tech industry, including Colorado, Florida, and Wisconsin. As tech industry employees embrace remote work, we anticipate continued software job growth across the country.”

To read the full report from, visit