The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), in conjunction with Economists Incorporated, has released a new report on the impact of the video game industry on the American economy. Video Games in the 21st Century: The 2014 Report notes that the game industry has actually been growing four times faster than the U.S. economy, with more than nine percent in real compound annual growth from 2009 to 2012.
In addition, annual job growth for the video game industry increased more than 13 times the rate of the U.S. labor market (9 percent vs. 0.72 percent, respectively) during the same period. ESA said that the game industry employs approximately 146,000 individuals "directly and indirectly."
As of 2012, the U.S. game industry directly employed over 42,000 people across 36 states (which was up over 30 percent since the 2009 report). Among the directly employed average annual compensation was $95,000 and total direct compensation for all workers combined amounted to over $4 billion.
The report takes a look at the game industry's effect on state economies across the nation, and unsurprisingly, California ranks highest in terms of the number of personnel directly employed. That said, "California's traditional prominence, however, is threatened by robust incentives currently offered by 21 other states and Puerto Rico." Texas came in second for number of industry employees, and it's seen nearly 50 percent growth since 2009 thanks in part to a digital production tax credit.
"The high-energy, high-tech video game industry is rapidly producing some of the most valuable jobs in the U.S. economy," said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA. "Our industry is one of the nation's fastest growing economic sectors and represents tens-of-thousands of high-paying, well-educated professionals, artists and creators."