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Google hails positive economic impact of US datacentre growth

Google claims the expansion of its datacentre portfolio in recent years has generated thousands of jobs and seen it contribute billions of dollars to the US economy

Google claims the expansion of its US datacentre operations, up to 2016, resulted in the creation of 11,000 jobs and $1.3bn for the country’s economy.

The search giant has released a report, in partnership with analyst house Oxford Economics, detailing the financial impact that expanding its datacentre footprint has had on the US economy and the local communities where its server farms are sited.

According to the report, the company’s datacentre operations have – as of 2016 – generated $1.3bn for the US economy, and contributed to the creation of 11,000 jobs throughout the country.

“Those 11,000 jobs cause a ripple effect – people with greater financial flexibility can support the local economy,” said Urs Hölzle, senior vice-president of technical infrastructure at Google, in a blog post.

“In fact, when direct, indirect and induced jobs are considered, the report finds that each Google datacentre job supports an additional 4.9 jobs throughout the US.”   

For context, the company has built eight datacentre campuses in the US over the past decade, and made commitments to grow its portfolio overseas in line with the growing demand for cloud services.

The figures, however, only detail the economic contributions generated by the six datacentre campuses it had in 2016, so the quoted figures could be higher than reported.

Read more about Google and its datacentres

The analysis features a breakdown of where the aforementioned 11,000 jobs come from, with the company claiming that 1,900 are employed to work directly onsite, along with more than 1,100 construction workers who are tasked with upgrading and expanding its facilities on a regular basis.

“On-campus activity is further supported by an external supply chain that employs nearly 3,500 additional workers,” the report states. “As those employed on-campus and in the supply chain spend their wages, a further 4,700 jobs are supported in the wider consumer economy.”

The company’s commitment to investing in renewable energy projects, often in the states where its datacentres reside, has further generated $2bn of investment and created 2,800 direct jobs in that field too.

The report also goes onto to talk up the wider benefits local communities reportedly see from having Google set up a server farm in the area, with a claimed rise of residents holding bachelor degrees noted, for example.

“Beyond these measurable effects, the addition of a Google datacentre also ripples through local communities in other, less easily quantifiable ways,” the report continues.

“For example, Google partners with communities on workforce development and education initiatives that both prepare the current workforce for positions in the new economy and increase engagement with young women and minority students interested in science and math.”

Read more on Datacentre capacity planning

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