The good news is just pouring out of Cupertino this morning. Apple's quarterly earnings report was like manna from heaven for company shareholders: some $13 billion in quarterly profits. People are snapping up iPhones and iPads like hotcakes -- or rather, like iPhones and iPads wrapped in hotcakes.
As I write this, Apple is now the most highly capitalized company on the planet. With $419 billion worth of shares outstanding, it surpasses Exxon by a cool $5 billion (or approximately 50 million barrels of crude).
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But good news for Apple isn't necessarily good news for Americans. Yes, job growth has been steadily rising, despite a near total collapse of our economy three years ago. The tech sector has been a big part of that and will grow even more in 2012, according to Dice.com.
Apple itself added 8,000 new jobs last year, according to a recent New York Times investigative report that details how Apple manages to build such magical yet reasonably priced products. But for the most part, the company does it by building them in China.
Privately, Apple executives say the world is now such a changed place that it is a mistake to measure a company's contribution simply by tallying its employees -- though they note that Apple employs more workers in the United States than ever before.
They say Apple's success has benefited the economy by empowering entrepreneurs and creating jobs at companies like cellular providers and businesses shipping Apple products. And, ultimately, they say curing unemployment is not their job.