Related BLS programs | Related articles
August 1996, Vol. 119, No. 8
The American family, not the American business, has become the new focus in the personal computer (PC) market. American consumers were expected to purchase 9.5 million home computers by the end of 1995, reaching 39 percent of U.S. households. This is a popularity never achieved by the electric typewriter or the video game. Forecasts have even called for 60 percent to 65 percent of U.S. homes to have a PC by the year 2000.1 It is no wonder that computer companies are taking the home buyer seriously. More than 40 percent of all newly sold PC's have been going into U.S. homes, and industry experts say that the home market has been growing at least twice as fast as the business market.
Increased sales of PC's to the home market have stimulated employment growth in supporting industries, including wholesaling and retailing of the PC, prepackaged software, and information retrieval services (which include on-line services).2 Employment in home PC-related industries grew by an average of 2.7 percent between 1988 and 1994 and then grew by almost 10 percent in 1995 alone.3 (See table 1.) A total of 58,000 jobs were added in 1995, which compares favorably with many other high-profile service sector industries. (See chart 1.) The growth in the 1988-95 period amounted to 31 percent, compared with 11 percent for all nonfarm industries. Employment trends for the four home PC-related industries, however, differ considerably. This article explores the job growth in each of these industries and the impetus behind it.
This excerpt is from an article published in the August 1996 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
Read abstract Download full text in PDF (594K)
1 Karen Freifeld, "Computers/Surging Sales; Computer Companies Gear Up to a Competitive Holiday Season as More and More Consumers Look to Buy a Home PC," Newsday, Oct. 8, 1995, p. 1.
2 Employment data are from the Current Employment Survey and appear in Employment, Hours, and Earnings, United States, 1909-94, Bulletin 2445 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1994), and the supplement entitled Employment, Hours and Earnings, United States, 1990-1995, Bulletin 2465 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 1995). Unless otherwise stated, employment data are annual averages.
3 The specific industries covered by the "home PC-related" category are computers, peripherals, and software (SIC 5045), computer and software stores (SIC 5734), Prepackaged software (SIC 7372), and information retrieval services (SIC 7375).
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers