Apple highlights creation, or support, of 514,000 jobs in the US

Apple went on a public relations push this week when it added to its website a page about how many jobs the company has created, or supports, in the US.

The page is titled “Creating jobs through innovation” and is packed with facts and figures about those who work for Apple in the US, “ from the engineer who helped invent the iPad to the delivery person who brings it to your door.”

The Cupertino company claims that 514,000 American jobs have been created or are supported by the company — this figure comprises 304,000 current jobs “ranging from engineering to manufacturing to transportation,” while 210,000 exist as a result of the iOS app economy. There are full time Apple employees in all 50 states, it said on the webpage.

So why does Apple feel the need to publicize these figures? Well, for a long time now there has been much focus on the Cupertino company’s use of overseas firms, such as Taiwan-based Foxconn, for the manufacture of its products, which include big sellers such as the iPhone and iPad.

A New York Times article in January pointed out that whereas once Apple made the majority of its products in its home country, “almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year were manufactured overseas.”

Many people in the US ask why those jobs cannot be located back home, where Apple is based. Indeed, in February 2010 President Obama asked the then Apple CEO Steve Jobs that exact question.

“Those jobs aren’t coming back,” Jobs reportedly replied. For Apple, as with many companies around the world, the price is right (in China) when it comes to the manufacture of goods. At least, it is at the moment. But the NYT said that with Apple executives, it’s not just about cheaper labor opportunities — they reportedly believe that “the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have….outpaced their American counterparts.”

The new webpage is an attempt to throw some light on the impact that the company has on job creation at home, even if the manufacture of its products does place overseas. The webpage says that according to a study by Analysis Group, of the 304,000 US jobs currently supported by Apple, 47,000 are with the company itself and 257,000 are with related firms. In this latter group, people work in positions helping with the development and manufacture of components, materials, and equipment. There are also jobs in the professional, scientific, and technical services, as well as in positions in consumer sales, transportation, business sales and healthcare.

Apple also highlights the success of its App Store, claiming it has helped to create more than 210,000 jobs. “With more than 550,000 apps and more than 24 billion downloads in less than four years, the App Store has created an entirely new industry,” the company says.

Regarding customer support, Apple is keen to point out that where many companies locate their call centers overseas to save money, the “vast majority” of its customer support calls are handled by workers in the US.

The company’s page on job creation at home comes as the Fair Labor Association investigates Foxconn factories in China — where many Apple products are assembled — to examine working conditions following reported problems at the factories. The FLA’s investigation is being carried out at the request of Apple, with its preliminary findings expected this month.

[via Apple Insider]

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