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U.S. Internet economy grew by 68% in first quarter

Researchers at the University of Texas estimate Internet-related business will contribute $507 billion and 2.3 million jobs to the American economy this year.

The U.S. Internet-based economy grew 68 percent in the opening quarter of 1999 in comparison with year-ago figures, according to a new study by the University of Texas.

Researchers there estimate Internet-related business will contribute $507 billion and 2.3 million jobs to the U.S. economy this year. The data, part of a study underwritten by network equipment provider Cisco Systems, represents some of the first comparative analyses of the impact of the online medium on the U.S. market.

Using four See related newsmaker: Alfred Berkeley metrics, the study found that economic growth related to the Internet rose to $108 billion in the first quarter of 1999, up from $64 billion in the first quarter of 1998--a 68 percent increase. E-commerce-related activity grew 127 percent over the same period, the study found.

More significantly, the study found that one out of every three of the 3,400 companies questioned in the survey did not exist before 1996. Those companies employed more than 300,000 workers, researchers found.

The study comes as the effects of the Internet and technology on the U.S. economy are being widely felt. Just yesterday, Microsoft and Intel were added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average--the first time stocks from the Nasdaq exchange were included in the index.

"We're seeing a world in which more and more businesses are recognizing the opportunities on the Internet," said professor Andrew Whinston of the University of Texas.

Original results of the ongoing research were released in June of this year. In the future, the university's Center for Research in Electronic Commerce plans to release the results of the study on a quarterly basis.

Detailed results of the study can be found on the researchers' Web site.