The U.S. economy as a whole
While that sounds impressive, it's actually a bit anemic compared to an earlier ESA report which found the U.S. game industry hitting growth rates of more than 10 percent from 2005-2009 -- 7x the growth rate of the U.S. economy as a whole during the same period.
"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," stated ESA president Michael D. Gallagher in a press release confirming the report.
As of 2012, the ESA estimates 42,000 were directly employed in the U.S. video game industry across 36 states; that's over 30 percent more than the ESA reported in 2009. However, nearly 80 percent of those -- 32,652 workers -- are consolidated in seven states: California, Texas, Washington, New York, Massachusetts, Florida and Illinois.
California continues to host the largest percentage of U.S. video game industry workers, followed by Texas and Washington.
Furthermore, this most recent ESA report concludes that U.S. residents directly employed by the video game industry reaped more than $4 billion in total compensation in 2012, based on data culled from Gamasutra's own annual game developer salary survey as well as employee counts and other corroborating information from a variety of industry sources.
The game industry as a whole accounted for $6.2 billion, or roughly 0.04 percent of the estimated $15.4 trillion U.S. GDP in 2012. That's a bit better than 0.03 percent ($5 billion of $14.5 trillion) it accounted for in 2009.