Apple’s $2 billion won’t bring a lot of jobs to Ireland or Denmark

A worker inspects solar panels at a solar farm in Dunhuang, 950km northwest of Lanzhou, Gansu Province
Photograph by Carlos Barria — Reuters

What’s not to love about Apple building a pair of giant data centers in Ireland and Denmark, each the size of 30 football fields?

Especially when they come — as the one in Ireland does — with outdoor education space, a walking trail for the community and a plan to restore native trees to the Derrydonnell Forest.

I can see the benefits:

  • Environmental: Powered by 100% reusable energy in a part of the world where the climate helps cool the server farms
  • Political: Helping to defuse the European Commission’s accusations that Apple only sees Ireland as a tax shelter
  • Bookkeeping: Apple gets to spend offshore some of the $158 billion it keeps offshore to avoid paying U.S. taxes


What I don’t see is a lot of jobs — except in Apple’s press release, where jobs are mentioned in three of the nine paragraphs. Here are two of them:

Apple supports nearly 672,000 European jobs, including 530,000 jobs directly related to the development of iOS apps. Since the App Store’s debut in 2008, developers across Europe have earned more than €6.6 billion through the worldwide sale of apps.

“Apple now directly employs 18,300 people across 19 European countries and has added over 2,000 jobs in the last 12 months alone. Last year, Apple spent more than €7.8 billion with European companies and suppliers helping build Apple products and support operations around the world.”

By contrast, Tim Cook’s quote, from the same press release, is careful not to over-promise:

“This significant new investment represents Apple’s biggest project in Europe to date. We’re thrilled to be expanding our operations, creating hundreds of local jobs.” (emphasis mine)

Apple declined to specify how many permanent jobs the new data centers would create. It did not dispute a report, however, that when all was said and done, its $1 billion data center in Maiden, N.C. created only 50 full-time jobs.

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple AAPL coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed.

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