Cell phone companies’ upgrades to 2G, 3G, and now 4G wireless technology helped create 1.6 million jobs from April 2007 to June 2011, a period when private-sector employment fell by 5.3 million jobs. That’s according to a study by the New Policy Institute, which found a correlation between new mobile technology and employment figures.
The ongoing transition from 3G to 4G will create up to an additional 231,000 jobs for each 10 percent of the population that upgrades to the faster 4G technology, the study says.
“It’s easy to understand if you can think about all the new industries that have grown up around this transition … and the new products and the new services and the new productivity gains,” said economist Rob Shapiro, who co-authored the study with economist Kevin Hassett.
Some of the new jobs will be for people selling the phones that support the new technology and those who upgrade cellular towers, but not all of the new work will be with the wireless carriers.
“We are finally beginning to see new industries arise out of the transition from 3G wireless technologies to 4G technology,” Shapiro said. He cited the mobile game Angry Birds and health care providers’ use of mobile technology to access patients’ medical records as examples of those new industries.
The technology also helps businesses become more efficient, Hassett said, with workers able to do more work remotely and bosses better able to keep tabs on their employees. That will lead to healthier bottom lines and more hiring.
“It’s in the data that as cell technology spreads … employment goes up,” Hassett said.