America’s Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), in partnership with Oxford Economics, has released a study analysing the chips workforce in the US and the economic benefits that would come from what it describes as “robust Federal investment” in domestic production.

The report, titled: “Chipping In: The Positive Impact of the Semiconductor Industry on the American Workforce and How Federal Industry Incentives Will Increase Domestic Jobs,” finds the semiconductor industry directly employs more than 277,000 workers in high-paying R&D, design, and manufacturing jobs across 49 States and supports 1.6m additional American jobs.

The study also projects a US$50bn Federal investment programme to incentivise domestic semiconductor manufacturing would create an average of 185,000 temporary American jobs annually and add US$24.6bn every year to the US economy as new semiconductor manufacturing facilities, or fabs, are constructed from 2021-2026.

“American jobs are built on semiconductors, and workers in our industry are driving the innovations critical to America’s economy, national security, and global leadership in the technologies of today and tomorrow,” said president, CEO, and director of Qorvo and SIA board chairman, Bob Bruggeworth.

“Leaders in Washington can spur greater US economic growth and job creation, while also strengthening America’s chip supply chains, by investing boldly in domestic manufacturing incentives and research initiatives.”

Other key report findings:

  • The total impact of the semiconductor industry on the US economy amounted to US$246.4bn in 2020
  • Semiconductors are a critical input for more than 300 downstream economic sectors, accounting for more than 26m US workers
  • The semiconductor industry’s jobs multiplier is 6.7, meaning for each US worker directly employed by the semiconductor industry, an additional 5.7 jobs are supported in the wider US economy
  • Workers in the semiconductor industry are highly productive and wages reflect this at US$170,000 annual income, on average, in 2020
  • One in five workers in the industry has not attended college, meaning the industry provides important blue-collar opportunities, in which jobs exist for workers to gain skills and earn family-sustaining wages
  • The semiconductor industry employs a greater share of non-white workers when compared to the average of all industries in the US

The study also highlights the urgent need to expand semiconductor R&D, design and manufacturing in the US through Federal investments, such as those called for in the CHIPS for America (CHIPS) Act, Federal legislation enacted in January, 2021, but not yet funded maintains the SIA.

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By supporting the expansion of the domestic semiconductor industry, nearly all other sectors of the economy will benefit, according to the study. This is accomplished either through supply chain spending and greater consumer spending or through the increased availability of semiconductors for downstream industries.

President Biden has called for US$50bn to fund the semiconductor manufacturing and research provisions in the CHIPS for America Act.

“Oxford Economics’ findings are a stark reminder of the tremendous catalytic effect of semiconductors on the US economy and job creation, as well as the urgent need to strengthen domestic chip research, design and manufacturing through robust federal investments,” said SIA president and CEO, John Neuffer.

“We look forward to working with leaders in Congress and the administration to fund the CHIPS Act so more of the semiconductors America needs are researched, designed, and produced on US soil.”