At least that's less than the MMO Industry
A study from Manchester University in Great Britain says that gold farming is probably a $500 million industry, with over 80% of its workers from China. (See, we told you!) The study also concludes that the average salary for these gold industry workers is $145 per month. The study compares the Chinese gold farming industry to the Indian outsourcing industry:
"The Indian software employment figure probably crossed the 400,000 mark in 2004 and is now closer to 900,000," he said. "Nonetheless, the two are still comparable in employment size, yet not at all in terms of profile."
The study, titled "Current Analysis and Future Research Agenda on 'Gold Farming': Real-World Production in Developing Countries for the Virtual Economies of Online Games," describes its "$500 million per year" prediction as a "best guess," taking into account subscription and employment data.
For more information, and a link to the study itself, please check here.