App industry builds base in Colorado

It turns out, there really is “an app for that.” Colorado at least, is displaying a huge appetite for apps — and app developers — of all types, giving new meaning to that now-classic Apple iPhone slogan.

A recent study commissioned by CTIA-The Wireless Association and the Application Developers Alliance found that mobile-app developers generated more than 8,00 jobs in Colorado, with a total economic impact of $429 million.

As is normally the case with such studies, this particular effort included some ancillary jobs, such as marketing and other sectors, due to the “multiplier effect.” But it also counted app developers and other information-technology workers supporting the sector.

The study was conducted by South Mountain Economics LLC, which estimated that there are 519,000 “App Economy” jobs in the United States.

In terms of economic impact, the $429 million experienced in Colorado ranked the state No. 15 nationwide in the app industry. (California leads the nation, with $8.2 billion in economic impact and 151,900 app-industry employees.) Colorado ranked No. 10 when comparing “app intensity,” or how much of the state’s workforce is affected by the sector.

No numbers exist currently for how big a role the Boulder Valley plays in the Colorado app industry, but we suspect that it’s substantial. New application-development companies seem to spring up in the Boulder area at every download to a smartphone.

We would encourage local economic-development agencies and the Colorado Technology Association to take another step in understanding how big an impact different parts of the state have on this growing sector, and how we can help it grow.

Just as Boulder has led the way in terms of software, Internet, data-storage, natural-products, outdoors and other sectors, it could also lead the way in building a larger and stronger base of mobile-app developers.

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