Demand for digital content to propel employment growth in the information sector
Establishments in the information sector produce and distribute content; provide the means to transmit and distribute content, data, and communications; and process data.40 The 2022–32 employment projections for the information sector reflect the continued shift away from traditional media to an increasingly digital world. Demand for digital content and services, such as internet services, cloud computing, and software, is expected to increase further over the 2022–32 period. In contrast, demand for traditional media, such as print newspapers and radio programming, is expected to continue to wane. Related information industries, such as newspaper publishers and radio broadcasting stations, are expected to suffer job losses over the projections period.41 Overall, the information sector is projected to grow at an above-average rate of 6.6 percent and add about 201,500 jobs from 2022 to 2032.
Undoubtedly, Americans spend more time connected to the internet and engaged with digital devices today than in any other time in history. Americans spent on average over 7 hours a day engaging with digital media in 2022—close to double the time they spent consuming digital media 10 years prior.42 The internet has become an essential component of our daily lives, and consumers are expected to increase their use of internet-enabled activities and consumption of digital content over the next decade.43 Younger generations growing up in the digital age tend to have a stronger appetite for digital content and platforms than other cohorts and are more likely to be regularly connected to the internet.44 As a result, younger demographic groups are expected to contribute to stronger consumer demand for digital media and services over the 2022–32 decade. In addition, government funding and initiatives to help close the gap in internet access across geographic regions and sociodemographic groups should continue to expand the consumer base for these services.45
Stronger demand for digital content should drive rapid employment growth in the web search portals, libraries, archives, and other information services industry, which is projected to grow the fastest of all information industries and the 12th fastest among all industries (19.4 percent).
Employment in the software publishers industry, the second-largest information industry in 2022, is projected to grow by 17.8 percent and add 112,900 jobs over the 2022–32 decade. This is the largest increase of any information industry and the 12th largest across all detailed industries. Establishments in this industry design, develop, and publish computer software, software applications, and mobile applications for a wide range of uses and industries. Firms in various industries will require software programs and applications to conduct business; to support business activities in management, sales, logistics, or other business functions; and to improve productivity and collaboration.46 Constant innovation in these spaces will require software developers and other occupations employed by this industry to develop and test upgrades and new programs and applications. In addition, strong demand for video games over the projections period is expected to contribute to employment growth in this industry. Globally, an estimated 2.9 billion people played a video game in 2021.47 Improvements in gaming technology and graphics, faster network connections, and an expanding global consumer base are expected to continue to drive strong demand for video games over the projections period and, in turn, the design and development of the next generation of video games.48
In 2022, software developers made up more than 20 percent of employment in three separate industries: software publishers; web search portals, libraries, archives, and other information services; and computer systems design and related services. In addition, these three industries are projected to employ nearly half of all software developers in 2032. Because of strong demand for software development in these industries and the economy at large, this occupation is expected to have the 2nd-largest increase in jobs of any occupation and be the 10th-fastest-growing occupation from 2022 to 2032. Employment of software developers is projected to increase by 410,400, or 25.7 percent.
The expanding digital presence of businesses and consumers is expected to result in a substantial increase in the volume of data generated.49 As a result, businesses will need cloud infrastructure to store and manage large databases. Cloud computing and cloud-based services continue to increase in popularity and the industry is expected to continue to grow.50 One reason cloud-based services have grown so quickly is their cost savings for businesses; these services can reduce a firm’s need for some physical hardware and other legacy IT equipment.51 Subsequently, as more businesses in a wide range of industries adopt Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing solutions, data centers will be needed to reduce data traffic congestion and to transmit data across networks quicker and more efficiently.52 Altogether these factors are expected to drive employment growth in the computing infrastructure providers, data processing, web hosting, and related services industry (14.0 percent).
In addition, the rapid growth in data expected over the projections period will drive demand for mathematical science occupations to help businesses harness their data and analyze it to identify trends and inform decisions. These occupations will see employment growth across a wide range of sectors, such as professional, scientific, technical services; information; finance and insurance; government; healthcare; and other sectors.
Nearly all mathematical science occupations are expected to experience fast employment growth over the projections period, but employment in four occupations is projected to grow by more than 20 percent: data scientists, statisticians, actuaries, and operations research analysts. Data scientists are projected to be the third-fastest-growing occupation over 2022–32 (35.2 percent). They will be in demand across a range of industries and fields to build models and applications for the analysis and presentation of data.53 Likewise, employment for statisticians is expected to grow 31.6 percent from 2022–32, the fourth-fastest of all occupations. The rise of big data and demand for data analysis should drive demand for statisticians to apply statistical theory and methods to collect, prepare, interpret, and summarize data. Actuaries will be hired by insurance carriers and other companies to use big data to assess and forecast the risk of potential events (employment projected to grow 23.2 percent). Meanwhile, operations research analysts will be in demand to use and interpret data analysis to advise managers and other decisionmakers on business operations, supply chain management, price forecasting, and more (employment projected to grow 22.5 percent).
Strong consumer demand for digital entertainment should also support demand for streaming and internet broadcasting services and social media platforms. Many U.S. households continue to “cut the cord” on traditional paid TV services in favor of using only streaming services.54 According to survey data, the share of U.S. households that subscribe to a video-on-demand service rose from 52 percent in 2015 to 78 percent in 2022.55 Similarly, music streaming service subscriptions hit an all-time high of an average of 92 million subscribers in 2022 and represented about 84 percent of total 2022 recorded music revenue.56 Likewise, nearly three-quarters of Americans reported using some kind of social media site in 2021, which was up from half of all Americans in 2011.57
As streaming services and social media sites continue to grow in popularity and increasingly penetrate entertainment markets, employment is expected to grow in the media streaming distribution services, social networks, and other media networks and content providers industry. More workers will be needed to develop and upgrade the platforms; produce and release content; and perform other related activities. Meanwhile, it is likely that streaming providers will continue to invest in the production of original content to attract and retain subscribers, which will support demand for movie, TV, and video production and distribution. This should increase employment in the motion picture and video industries and for a variety of arts, design, entertainment, and media occupations, such as producers and directors, film and video editors, and special effects animators and artists.