The "internet economy" created more than 17 million jobs in the U.S. last year, up seven million from four years ago, according to a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
That follows a 22 percent jump in the contribution that the internet economy has made to the gross domestic product since 2016, reaching $2.45 trillion last year, out of an overall GDP of $21.18 trillion.
Small firms and self-employed people accounted for 38 percent of internet jobs in 2020, with 34 percent coming from the largest internet companies. The online creator economy now employs 200,000 full-time employees, approaching the numbers of such craft and labor unions as SAG-AFTRA and the American Federation of Musicians.
The IAB study also says that news- and information-related internet jobs are on an upward swing, rising to 142,000 last year from 46,000 in 2008. Podcasting, streaming video and digital gaming accounted for 34,000 jobs and $40 billion of revenue last year, the report found.
Another growth area for internet commerce: human resources jobs. In 2016, the IAB found 5,600 jobs focused on producing internet software for use by corporate human resources departments. By last year, that number experienced a 13-fold increase to 83,000 jobs.
The increases are also spread out over the entire country. IAB found that every congressional district in the U.S. is home to internet-based workers. Also, in 272 of those districts, there are at least 10,000 internet-dependent jobs.
"The internet has made business formation a much more democratic process," said Harvard Business School's John Deighton, who authored the study. "Not only large firms, but also large numbers of small firms and individuals, now have the platforms and tools to find customers, engage with them, and transact."