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Greenville Business Magazine

Furman's Economic Impact on the Upstate More Than $297 Million, New Study Shows

Jun 21, 2019 01:34PM

Furman University’s annual economic impact on Greenville County and the surrounding Upstate counties is more than $297 million, according to a new study conducted by the university’s Department of Economics.

Furman’s economic contribution to Greenville County in 2017-18 was $288.1 million, with another $9.1 million impacting the economies of Anderson, Laurens, Pickens and Spartanburg counties.

“It is important that Furman and the Upstate community have a beneficial and prosperous relationship, so it’s gratifying to see that we are contributing significantly to the economic well-being of the area,” said Furman President Elizabeth Davis. “Greenville is home, and Furman is proud to be an integral part of the community.”

The study was conducted by Furman Associate Professor of Economics Jason Jones and student Dyson Von Robinson of Durham, North Carolina, who graduated this spring with a degree in economics.

Jones said there are five main channels through which Furman contributes to the local economy: (1) spending on goods and services necessary to run the university; (2) compensation for employees spent in the local economy; (3) spending on capital goods for building projects, major equipment purchases and land improvement; (4) spending by students in the local economy; and (5) spending by visitors.

“We studied Furman’s direct, indirect and induced spending in Greenville County that would not have occurred but for the existence of the university,” Jones said. “We were careful not to double count spending, and we strove to be conservative in our estimates.”

The study found that Furman supports a total of 2,176 jobs in Greenville County and an additional 57 jobs in the surrounding counties that provide nearly $134 million in employee compensation. The university also contributed $165.5 million to the gross regional product (GRP) of Greenville County, and more than 22,000 visitors to campus spent $2.2 million.

“While the economic relationship is significant, we know our cultural and societal partnership with the community is every bit as important,” Davis said. “So we’ll continue to nurture that partnership and celebrate our role as Greenville’s university.”

Furman has numerous programs that reach out to the community, including the Office for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Institute for the Advancement of Community Health, Bridges to a Brighter Future, Shi Center for Sustainability, the Riley Institute, Heller Service Corps, Center for Corporate and Professional Development, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and Undergraduate Evening Studies.

Furman is a private, undergraduate liberal arts and sciences university of 2,800 students noted for its rigorous academic program and strong faculty. At the heart of the university’s academic experience is The Furman Advantage, a strategic plan that combines learning with immersive experiences outside the classroom, creating a personalized pathway that prepares students for lives of purpose, successful careers and community benefit.

The economic impact study is available on the web here.