Software: Supporting US Through COVID


Software supported 12.5M jobs outside the tech sector

The coronavirus pandemic presented challenges all across the US economy and Americans’ lives in recent months. The response to the pandemic has featured tremendous tales of strength and agility, and, in many cases, those tales demonstrate what software makes possible in both the professional and personal lives of us all:

 By providing the infrastructure and services that enable remote work for many Americans, enterprise software firms have provided the backbone for much of the US economy in the past year.

 Healthcare providers and medical researchers leveraged software tools to improve patient care and help speed the development and distribution of new vaccines.

Key Findings

 The software industry continued to be a key driver of the US economy through the coronavirus pandemic, supporting jobs all across the country. In 2020, software supported more than 15.8 million jobs in total—an increase of 5.9 percent since 2018.

 Software supports jobs all across the economy—in industries far beyond just the technology sector. In 2020, software supported more than 12.5 million non-software jobs—up 5.5 percent since 2018.

Software Supporting Us

All across the United States in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic transformed how Americans went about their daily lives—how we worked, how we learned, how we maintained connections with those most dear to us. The stories are all around us.



In addition to providing the digital infrastructure that enabled our personal and professional lives during the pandemic, the software industry helped create jobs all across the economy and all across the country. In fact, the software industry supports 12.5 million jobs in industries outside software—jobs in every economic sector. The total number of jobs supported by the software industry has increased nearly 6 percent since 2018. This report, from the BSA Foundation and conducted in 2021 by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), captures the positive economic impact of the software industry in the United States at the state and national level.


15.8 million jobs


3.3 million jobs


Software played a crucial role in enabling our lives through the pandemic, allowing us to connect socially with friends and family. At the same time, software helped businesses of all sizes to continue their work, underpinning innovation and driving growth in nearly every economic sector. Overall, software’s contribution to total US value-added GDP has grown more than 17 percent since 2018.

Total Value-Added GDP

$1.9 trillion

(includes indirect and induced impacts)

Direct Value-Added GDP

$933 billion


Average Annual Wage
for Software Developers



R&D Investment by Software Companies

$103 billion

27.4% of All Domestic Business
R&D in the US

The EIU compiled these data and economic impact assessments using publicly available government data, maintaining full editorial control of the process and using industry standard approaches. Any views or opinions expressed in this document are not necessarily those of The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Software Job Growth

In 2020, software industry jobs grew by 10 percent or more in 11 states and Washington, DC. Click on your state for job GDP details.


Top 10 States

Top 10 States With Total Jobs Growth

1. New Mexico 22.8%
2. District of Columbia 19.2%
3. New York 15.8%
4. Idaho 12.5%
5. Tennessee 10.8%
6. California 9.6%
7. Washington 9.2%
8. Nebraska 8.6%
9. Texas 5.4%
10. South Carolina 5.2%

Top 10 States With Direct Jobs Growth

1. New Mexico 18.7%
2. Idaho 17.1%
3. Washington 14.3%
4. Tennessee 12.9%
5. New York 12.9%
6. Alaska 11.9%
7. Texas 10.9%
8. District of Columbia 10.8%
9. California 10.5%
10. Colorado 10.2%

Top 10 States With Direct GDP Growth

1. Washington 33.1%
2. Idaho 21.2%
3. California 20.3%
4. Utah 19.2%
5. Colorado 18.0%
6. Tennessee 17.5%
7. South Dakota 17.2%
8. Wyoming 16.3%
9. Florida 16.2%
10. Oregon 15.6%

Top 10 States With Research and Development Investments

1. California $53.6 billion
2. Washington $16.7 billion
3. New York $6.3 billion
4. Massachusetts $3.5 billion
5. Texas $2.8 billion
6. North Carolina $2.1 billion
7. Virginia $1.4 billion
8. Illinois $1.2 billion
9. Georgia $1.2 billion
10. Pennsylvania $1.1 billion

State Economic Impact

See the economic contributions of the software industry by each state. Click on each column header to sort the data.

State Economic Impact

See the economic contributions of the software industry by each state. Click on each column header to sort the data.


In 2020, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the official source of US economic data, made minor revisions to its 2015–2019 estimates for GDP. These updates are primarily due to improvements in underlying source data provided by various government agencies such as the US Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS updates included similar revisions to employment and wage data for the same period.

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