Southeast Boosts Regional Economy by $148 Million Annually

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 5, 2012 — Southeast Missouri State University boosts the regional economy with student expenditures of $63.6 million annually and a total University impact of $148 million, according to results of an economic impact study released today at the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce’s First Friday Coffee.

The study is titled “The Economic Impact of Southeast Missouri State University on the Cape Girardeau Area and its Service Region.” Presenters were Dr. John Cherry, Southeast professor of marketing; Sabrina Lovelace, Southeast marketing major; and Dr. Bruce Domazlicky, Southeast professor of economics and director of the Center for Economic and Business Research. Dr. Judy Wiles, chair of the Department of Management and Marketing, and professor of marketing, assisted with the study.

The Donald L. Harrison College of Business was charged with the task of estimating the economic impact on output, employment and income as a result of spending by students, employees and the University for both day-to-day operations and for construction.

Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, said the study is a continuation of similar studies, the first of which was initiated in 1970 and the last of which was commissioned in 2003. Dr. John Cherry, professor of marketing, made additional updates to the survey in 2011. In fall 2011, students in his “Introduction to Business Research” course assisted in the implementation of the survey and presented initial results to Dobbins and Dr. Ron Rosati, Southeast provost.

“Student spending in the Cape Girardeau area makes a significant impact on the local economy,” Dobbins said.

He noted that results of data gathered during a survey of students in fall 2011 indicate students spent $63.6 million locally over a nine-month period during the course of the academic year. Expenditures ranged from $10.8 million on groceries and more than $7 million on rent to $6.4 million on dining out and $3.3 million on cell phones.

Dobbins noted the terrific “town and gown” relationship the University shares with the City of Cape Girardeau, noting that students, faculty, staff and the business operations of the University have a profound impact on the city’s and the regional economy.

He underscored the University’s spending on major construction projects – including $58.3 million on Academic Hall, Magill Hall, deferred maintenance and conversion of the power plant to natural gas installation – highlighting their positive impact on the community with a total output effect of $11.2 million annually. Contract amounts awarded to local contractors were used to estimate the impact of University spending for construction.

In addition, the study showed the total output effect of University spending in Southeast’s 24-county service region – purchases from vendors and purchases of a variety of goods and services, such as educational supplies, office supplies, equipment and repairs, basic maintenance, cleaning supplies, and advertising and printing, as $20.6 million annually.

Results indicate total output effect of employee spending at $32.7 million. University payroll data, adjusted for taxes and other employee deductions, were used to calculate the economic impact of employee spending in the 24-county service region.

The study also highlighted the human capital effect of the University’s students. Human capital is the ability of people to contribute to the output of goods and services. Intelligence, educational attainment and work experience drive human capital. By increasing educational attainment, Southeast raises individuals’ productive ability and therefore, contributes to economic growth and development in southeast Missouri, the entire state and the nation. Given that 36,010 Southeast graduates live in the 24-county region served by Southeast plus St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis, the human capital effect is estimated at more than $602 million annually. “The additional income from Southeast graduates in the region adds $36 million to state income tax revenue, $205 million in retail sales and $8.65 million in state sales tax revenue,” Dobbins said.

Complete results of the study are available at http://www.semo.edu/economicimpact/.