Clayton State University economic impact: $252.4 million, 2,311 jobs

A newly released report states that the combined economic impact of the University System of Georgia’s (USG) 35 institutions on their host communities reached $13.2 billion in Fiscal Year 2011, which is five percent higher than the $12.6 billion reported for FY 2010. 

The FY 2011 study found that Georgia’s public university system generated nearly 132,000 jobs, or more than three percent of all the nonfarm jobs that exist in Georgia. The bottom line is that one job out of every 29 in the State of Georgia is due to the University System.

While common wisdom might conclude that increased spending and jobs were the result of institutional actions, the study found just the opposite. Students accounted for the increased spending that generated more jobs off campus.

“Comparisons of the FY 2011 estimates to those for recent years show that our public college and universities really proved their economic worth during tough economic times” said study author Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth in the Terry College of Business.

The Selig Center’s data showed that Clayton State University’s impact on the Southern Crescent was impressive – a $252,426,600 output impact in current dollars, and 2,311 jobs. The output impact is third among the USG’s 13 state universities, trailing only the much larger Kennesaw State and University of West Georgia. The jobs impact is fourth among the state universities, trailing only Kennesaw, West Georgia and Columbus State.

Last year’s (FY10) figures for Clayton State showed Clayton State’s output impact in current dollars at $236.2 million, and employment impact at 2,169 jobs. This represents an increase in output impact of 6.9 percent, and an increase in jobs of 6.5 percent.

The Selig Center analyzed financial and enrollment data for July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011 to estimate the economic impact that each of Georgia’s 35 public colleges and universities makes to the economy of the community where it is located. The Selig Center began producing the annual economic impact report in 1999.

Most of the $13.2 billion economic impact consists of initial spending by USG institutions for salaries and fringe benefits, operating supplies and expenses, and other budgeted expenditures, as well as spending by the students who attended the institutions. Initial spending by USG institutions and students equaled $9.5 billion, or 72 percent of the total output impact. 

The remaining $3.7 billion (28 percent) of the output impact was created by re-spending – the multiplier effect of the dollars that are spent again in the region. For every dollar of initial spending by a University system institution, research found that, on average, an additional 39 cents was generated for the local economy.

The study shows that between FY 2007 and FY 2011, total spending by all 35 institutions and their students rose by 30 percent, and the number of jobs that owe their existence to that spending rose by 24 percent – from 106,267 jobs to 131,990 jobs.

“That job growth is quite impressive given that the state’s total employment declined by seven percent during this period” said Humphreys. “Without exception, each college or university is an economic lynchpin of its host community.” 

That’s mostly due to rising demand for higher education even when overall economic conditions deteriorate said Humphreys. Higher spending by increasing numbers of enrolled students rather than higher spending by the institutions accounted for most of the job growth. The number of on-campus jobs barely increased while the number of off-campus jobs that exist due to institution-related spending rose by 41 percent. 

One striking finding is that university – or college-related spending – creates far more jobs off the campus than it does on the campus. On average, for each job that exists on campus, two off-campus jobs exist because of spending related to the institution. Almost all of the off-campus jobs are in private sector businesses. 

“That’s really not too surprising,” said Humphreys. “After all, the private sector businesses operating in the communities that are home to USG institutions are by far the biggest recipients of institution-related spending.” 

 “Each of Georgia’s public colleges and universities are strong pillars and drivers of the economies of their host communities. That translates into more jobs, higher incomes, and greater production of goods and services than would otherwise be the case’ said Humphreys. 

The full study with data for all 35 USG institutions is available at: http://www.usg.edu/economic_development/documents/PS-USGImpact2011.pdf.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta. 

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