UO continues to be major economic driver in the state

February 4, 2013 - 12:00am

Direct spending by the University of Oregon, its researchers, students and visitors accounted for more than $1.2 billion in FY2011-12, and the total impact of the spending was $2.6 billion, according to new research from UO economist Tim Duy.

The totals represent a 5 percent increase in direct spending and a 22 percent increase in total impact from the previous fiscal year.

“The economic impact of the UO is truly spectacular,” said UO President Michael Gottfredson. “The university is a major engine for our economy – both in the region and throughout the state.”

With 15,604 full- and part-time jobs, the university’s employees had $19.5 million withheld from their paychecks for state income taxes. When indirect job creation and support is calculated, household earnings derived from more than 25,000 jobs supported by the UO generated $44 million. That offsets 98 percent of the $44.8 million received by the university as its state appropriation.

Research and innovation

The UO economic study also found research-related activity generated $110.6 million, with 98 percent of the research awards funded from outside Oregon. For each dollar of state appropriation, UO researchers were awarded $2.47 of external funding.

“Sponsored research activity at the University of Oregon continues to be a significant driver of the regional economy, creating Oregon companies and jobs as well as new knowledge,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, vice president of research and innovation and dean of the graduate school. “Our faculty continue to win competitive federal grants and others extend innovation beyond the laboratories with spin-off companies and partnerships.”

UO received $8 million in licensing income from its innovations in fiscal year 2012, representing the university’s highest return on research innovation (8.9 percent) to date. The UO ranks among the top 20 universities in the U.S. for percentage return on research through licensing of innovations. In a 2012 survey, companies associated with UO research reported more than 250 employees and revenues of more than $32 million. The just-completed annual report for the Office of Research, Innovation and Graduate Education is available here.

Visitor spending

Duy’s report found that nonresident tuition, research awards and visitor spending accounted for $486 million into the state by the UO. This is a 24.9 percent increase from last year’s study. The significant increase is partially attributed to an additional aspect of the university’s economic impact studied this year: visitor spending associated with athletics.

Oregon Athletics

According to a related study by Duy, spending of $31.8 million attributable to visitors coming from outside Oregon supported $62 million of economic activity and 698 jobs as a result of UO football, men’s basketball, the Prefontaine Classic track event and the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Track and Field. As noted, the Prefontaine Classic and Olympic Trials aren’t UO events; however, they derive significant benefits from Athletics Department resources, especially use of historic Hayward Field.

By drawing fans into Lane County – from other areas of Oregon and outside the state – local spending in Lane County totaled $60.4 million, impacting $101.2 million in the local economy and creating or supporting 1,261 jobs.

The gross economic impact from all revenue sources of the Athletic Department covers $258 million of economic activity. Through outside and inside money, the Athletic Department affects $88.2 million of household earnings and 2,720 jobs in Oregon.

Duy estimates that 68.7 percent of Athletics Department revenues are derived from outside of Lane County, and 47.1 percent are from outside of Oregon. Ticket sale data was analyzed and Duy concluded that 76.3 percent of UO men’s basketball ticket purchasers reside in Lane County, compared to 40.2 percent of UO football ticket purchasers.

“We have some of the most passionate fans in college athletics and we appreciate the work by Tim Duy in calculating the Athletic Department’s economic impact in the community,” said Rob Mullens, director of intercollegiate athletics. “The study reinforced that the passion our fans have translates into tremendous economic benefits in the state and locally in the Eugene/Springfield area.”

Duy, senior director of the Oregon Economic Forum, prepared the reports in December 2012. He is author of the University of Oregon Statewide Economic Indicators, Regional Economic Indicators, and the Central Oregon Business Index. He has published in the Journal of Economics and Business, and is also a member of the Oregon Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors and the State Debt Policy Advisory Commission.

For more information, visit http://gcr.uoregon.edu/powering-oregons-economy.