Software and Information Technology Spotlight

The Software and Information Technology Industry in the United States


The United States has the most advanced software and information technology (IT) services industry in the world. More than a quarter of the $3.8 trillion global IT market is in the United States. The industry accounts for $1.14 trillion of U.S. value-added GDP and 10.5 million jobs. The number of jobs created directly by the software industry has increased 14.6 percent since 2014. There are more than 100,000 software and IT services companies in the United States, and more than 99 percent are small and medium-sized firms (under 500 employees). This total includes software publishers, suppliers of custom computer programming services, computer systems design firms, and facilities management companies. The industry draws on a highly educated and skilled U.S. workforce of nearly two million people, a number which has continued to grow during the past decade.

U.S. software firms operate a mature, harmonized market and have a reputation for producing reliable and effective solutions that accelerate quickly to the marketplace. International companies in the industry have shown a keen interest in the U.S. market because of its strong intellectual property rights laws and enforcement. U.S. companies lead the world's packaged and custom-software markets, and are competitive in nearly all other market segments with a stable overseas market share.

To enhance the United States’ competitive advantage in technology, the Trump Administration has prioritized funding in the 2019 fiscal year budget request for fundamental AI research and computing infrastructure, machine learning, and autonomous systems.The International Data Corporation (IDC) surveys show that infrastructure projects are high priorities for U.S. businesses, and interest is growing rapidly in collaborative tools, green information technology, cloud computing, and mobile applications.

Industry Subsectors

Cloud Computing Services: According to Gartner, the worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow to $214.3 billion in 2019, up from $182.4 billion in 2018. The United States is a market leader in the cloud computing market and has some of the largest companies in the sector. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) are expected to be the fastest-growing segments of the cloud services market.

Entertainment Software: Combined revenues in entertainment software from computer and video games were $15.4 billion in 2014. The subsector supports more than 146,000 U.S. jobs.

E-commerce: The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2020, some 940 million online shoppers will spend almost $1 trillion on cross-border e-commerce transactions. According to the Census Bureau, e-commerce sales in the United States reached $341 billion in 2015, a 14 percent increase from 2014.

Federal Resources

The Department of Commerce makes technology and Internet policy a top priority, investing resources to address the challenges and opportunities business faces in the digital economy. For this reason, the Commerce Department Digital Economy Agenda was created on November 9, 2015.

To find out more about the Digital Economy Agenda, please visit The Commerce Blog article.

Prepared in collaboration with the International Trade Administration's Industry & Analysis Unit (I&A)

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Industry & Analysis (I&A) staff of industry, trade and economic analysts devise and implement international trade and investment strategies to strengthen the global competitiveness of U.S. industries. By combining in-depth analysis with the International Trade Administration’s industry relationships, I&A devises initiatives to unlock export and investment opportunities for U.S. businesses, represent the interests of U.S. industry in trade negotiations, and publishes research on global opportunities for U.S. companies.