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Economic Development

Dec. 11 - Georgia Southern’s annual economic impact measured at more than $1 billion

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

December 11, 2018 - A new report shows Georgia Southern University has an annual economic impact of just more than $1 billion on the region it serves. The report says Georgia Southern is a significant part of the University System of Georgia’s (USG) $16.8 billion economic impact on the state of Georgia. 

The report found these economic impacts demonstrate that continued emphasis on colleges and universities as a pillar of the state’s economy translates into jobs, higher incomes and greater production of goods and services.
For Georgia Southern, the report said 11,535 jobs can be tied to the University, contributing to an annual economic impact measured at $1.02 billion dollars.
“It is very powerful to hear Georgia Southern has an economic impact of more than $1 billion,” said President Shelley Nickel. “This study helps tell the story of our influence, but the real impact we have is in the classroom and on the students whose lives we change.”
The report indicates an overall increase in full- and part-time jobs throughout the state, either at USG institutions or because of them. Of the 163,754 jobs noted in the report across Georgia, 50,541 or 31 percent are on the campuses while 113,213 or 69 percent, are off campus. For every person employed at the USG or a member institution, 2.2 people have jobs that support the presence of the institution in the local community.
This is the first report on Georgia Southern’s economic impact after its consolidation. The report found that in southeast Georgia:
  • There are 3,543 jobs on Georgia Southern’s campuses in Statesboro, Savannah and Hinesville
  • Because of institutional-related spending 7,992 jobs exist off campus
  • Georgia Southern’s “initial spending” is $770,234,740. That breaks down in three areas:
    • $237,251,789 is spent on personal services
    • $131,083,060 is spent on operations
    • $401,899,891 is spent by Georgia Southern’s students
“The workforce development impacts are arguably as important, if not more important, than the dollar spending impacts,” said Michael Toma, Ph.D., Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Economics and director of the Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research (CBAER). “Graduates' labor market skills and employment opportunities are significantly enhanced by their education. Georgia Southern meets the needs of regional employers today and prepares the workforce and community leaders of tomorrow.”
Toma also noted the regional impact extends far beyond the jobs, dollars and spending data. The community-mindedness and civic engagement of Georgia Southern's students, faculty and staff are demonstrated by participation in numerous off-campus service projects, he said.
In addition, the cultural fabric of the region is enhanced by many fine arts performances, lecture series speakers, distinguished guests, collegiate athletics, and special events hosted on the campuses.
The annual study is conducted on behalf of the Board of Regents by Jeffrey M. Humphreys, Ph.D., director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.
The full report is available at
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