Here’s how much AWS has spent on U.S. cloud infrastructure since 2011

  • A new report from AWS sheds light on spending but the scope is limited to U.S. investments.

  • A good chunk of that spending has been in Virginia

  • The company talked up the number of jobs created, but those seem to center more around construction

We all know Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the titan of the cloud world, with around a third of the overall market share. But just how much has it spent to secure that position? A new report from the company shed some light on the subject, though the scope was limited to U.S. investments.

AWS said it invested $108.9 billion in cloud computing infrastructure in the U.S. between 2011 and 2022, including $92.04 billion on construction of the aforementioned facilities. It estimated its data center construction in the U.S. added $21.4 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), while its data center operations contributed another $15.97 billion. Overall, it claimed its cloud infrastructure investments contributed an estimated $37.69 billion to the GDP from 2011 to 2022.

Zooming in, AWS spent nearly $64 billion in the state of Virginia over the same time period, contributing an estimated $21.3 billion to the state’s GDP. The spending figure includes investments in construction, fiber connections, building and equipment maintenance and operations. The company has said it plans to invest an additional $35 billion in Virginia by 2040 to add new data center campuses.

For those not in the know, Northern Virginia is home to a sort of “data center alley,” which basically comprises a cluster of hundreds of data centers spread across Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William Counties. In Fairfax alone, AWS said it has invested nearly $1.6 billion between 2011 and 2022.

Other major investment hubs for the company included Oregon ($22.9 billion), Ohio ($6.3 billion) and California ($4.2 billion).

Of course, it should be noted that many states – including Virginia, Oregon and Ohio – offer tax exemptions for data centers. In Virginia, for instance, tax abatements for all data centers totaled more than $607 million between 2017 and 2022, the most recent years for which data was readily available via the state’s annual comprehensive report.

The jobs question

AWS spent plenty of time in its report talking up the number of jobs created by its investments. But it’s worth noting there’s still some debate around how many jobs, exactly, data centers create.

The company’s own data seems to reflect the idea that the majority of data center jobs are in construction. But once facilities are built, a significantly smaller number of people are needed to run them.

AWS said nearly 20,000 jobs annually were supported by its data center construction compared to just 9,700 for its data center operations.

At AWS’ public sector event in June, state and local officials suggested a big draw for governments when it comes to data centers is not necessarily jobs, but tax revenue. You can check out that story here.

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