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Economic Impact of Unfilled InfoComm Jobs
Executive Summary
The Changing Structure of the Washington Economy
InfoComm in the Washington Area Economy, 1980-1998
InfoComm in the Future of the Washington Area Economy
Economic Impact of Unfilled InfoComm Jobs
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2005:Digital Economy
It is estimated that there are at least 20,000 more jobs in the Infocomm Industry than there are available qualified workers and that this gap has worsened over the past several years. Without debating precisely how big this gap is now and how much bigger it may get over the forecast period, the economic cost of a gap of this magnitude is significant and can be calculated. By comparing the growth of jobs, earnings and total output for the Washington metropolitan area between 1998 and 2010 with the continuation of this gap and the growth of the area economy with this gap being filled over the next four year period (1999-2003), the benefits of a concerted effort to increase the availability of qualified workers to meet the labor force requirements of the Infocomm Industry can be illustrated.

By generating 5000 more new workers for the Infocomm Industry beyond the projected annual increase in each of the four years in the "ramp-up" period (1999-2003) and comparing the size of the area economy in 2010 as well as the accumulated economic benefits over the 12-year forecast period to the forecast that leaves this gap unfilled, the importance of meeting the future job requirements of the Infocomm Industry are clearly evident (see Table 8).

The persistence of a shortage of 20,000 qualified workers in the Infocomm Industry will result in 20,220 other non-Infocomm jobs in the area economy not being generated. Had these new jobs been generated, they would have been spread across the economy's sectors as follows: construction, 420 jobs; manufacturing, 1,604 jobs; transportation, communications and utilities, 1,623 jobs; trade, 2,330 jobs, finance, insurance and real estate, 2,220 jobs; and services, 11,872 jobs.

Additionally, had this Infocomm worker shortage been eliminated during the 1999-2003 period, the region's cumulative personal earnings over this period would be been $17.2 billion greater than if this shortage is carried forward through the period and the cumulative value of region's total gross regional product would have been $20.1 billion larger. The opportunity cost of being unable to fill the jobs being generated in the Infocomm Industry is great and it affects all sectors in the area economy resulting in fewer new jobs, less disposable income, and slower economic growth.

Table 8
The Economic Cost of the Infocomm Worker Shortage
Washington Metropolitan Area, 1998-2010

with Job Gap
w/o Job Gap
New Infocomm Jobs 91,518 111,518 20,000
Total Private Sector Job Growth 702,440 742,660 40,220
Personal Earnings* $1,343.8 $1,361.0 $17.244
Total GRP* $1,568.7 $1,588.8 $20.129

Source: Center for Regional Analysis, GMU
*cumulative earnings and contribution to GRP from 1998-2010 in billions of 1998 dollars


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