They did say the U.S. economy has been down for a while, right? It looks like the video game industry is expanding at a rate much faster than we were expecting.

The Entertainment Software Association has announced that the United States' video and computer game industry has grown more than nine percent (based on its compound annual growth) from 2009 to 2012, which is four times faster than the growth of the American economy during the same years. Mind you, the U.S. economy hit a huge downturn after the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, and the economy dragged its feet (and still is, to an extent) when it came to recovery. For those who do not know, the ESA is the trade association representing video and computer game publishers throughout the United States.

The ESA reports that the U.S. video game industry has added $6.2 billion to the American economy in 2012.

The ESA got this information from a study called Video Games in the 21st Century: The 2014 Report. This report also found that the video game industry's job growth is more than 13 times the rate of the U.S. labor market. We have a feeling this report does not take into account recent events. Throughout 2014, we reported multiple stories showing that the game industry has been suffering layoffs and developer/publisher restructurings across the board. The 2014 Report claims that the video game industry's annual job growth grew by nine percent compared to the U.S. labor market growth of .72 percent. Surprisingly, there are 146,000 individuals working in the entertainment software industry, but that estimation may have dropped due to the number of layoffs and studio closures/restructurings that have happened throughout the year.

“The high-energy, high-tech video game industry is rapidly producing some of the most valuable jobs in the U.S. economy,” said ESA President and CEO Michael D. Gallagher. “Our industry is one of the nation’s fastest growing economic sectors and represents tens-of-thousands of high-paying, well-educated professionals, artists and creators.”

Surprising findings that the ESA revealed also include the following:

• Industry employees earn an average annual compensation of $95,000

• Total direct compensation for all workers directly employed in the video game software industry was more than $4 billion.

• Nationally, Texas ranked second highest in the number of video game industry personnel (with California being first), with 17,878 direct and indirect employees; a 49-percent growth since 2009 when the state passed its digital production tax credit. The third highest state was Washington with 12,833 individuals;

• Nevada and Missouri experienced the most growth, expanding by more than 40 percent from 2009 to 2012

• The seven states with the greatest number of entertainment software industry employees – California, Texas, Washington, New York, Massachusetts, Florida and Illinois – collectively employ 32,652 workers; nearly 80 percent of the total, direct employment for the U.S. video game industry as a whole.

We can't wait to see how the ESA's report goes next year when it factors in all of the recent layoffs and studio restructurings throughout the industry while accounting for the boom in mobile gaming development, which is growing at an accelerated, near-exponential rate. The gaming industry has seen $12.5 billion in acquisitions during the past year, with the mobile video game market making up nearly half of it.