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Jeff Humphreys
Jeff Humphreys

The University of Georgia’s economic impact on the Athens-area economy topped $2.1 billion in fiscal year 2012, and the school’s operations accounted for more than 22,000 jobs.

According to a recent study by the UGA Selig Center for Economic Growth that looked at the impact of all 35 University System of Georgia institutions, UGA’s economic impact on the local economy—which includes Clarke, Oconee, Madison, Oglethorpe, Jackson, Barrow, Walton and Gwinnett counties—was $2.161 billion, an increase of more than 5 percent from fiscal 2011. For university system schools, UGA’s impact was second in the state only to Georgia Tech.

UGA also was responsible for 22,196 jobs, which includes 9,042 on-campus jobs and 13,154 jobs that exist because of UGA spending. The total number of jobs is an 8 percent increase over fiscal 2011 and is the most jobs created by a state university.

“The fundamental finding of this study is that each of the University System of Georgia’s institutions creates substantial economic impacts,” said Jeff Humphreys, director of the Selig Center in the Terry College of Business, in a release issued statewide. “These economic impacts demonstrate that continued emphasis on higher education as an enduring pillar of the regional economy translates into jobs, higher incomes and greater production of goods and services for local households and businesses.”

In fiscal 2012, which started July 1, 2011, and ended June 30, 2012, UGA spent $669.5 million in salaries and $393.6 million in operating expenses, a combined increase of 5 percent over fiscal 2011.  Student spending in the Athens area also increased, from $444.9 million in fiscal 2011 to $446.9 million in fiscal 2012.

The Selig Center has conducted this economic impact report annually since 1999. It looks at the spending and jobs at all 35 institutions under the university system. Statewide, those schools employed more than 139,000—3.6 percent of all jobs in Georgia—and had a combined economic impact of $14.1 billion, compared with $13.2 billion in fiscal 2011.

The full study with data for all 35 USG institutions is available at http://www.usg.edu/economic_development/documents/usg_Impact_fy2012.pdf.