MORROW — A new report from the University System of Georgia shows Clayton State University’s economic impact on the Southern Crescent in 2011 was third largest among state universities, trailing only Kennesaw State and the University of West Georgia.
Statistics released July 10 and compiled by the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business show Clayton State having an impact of more than $252 million in current dollars. Clayton State also generated 2,311 jobs, placing it fourth behind Kennesaw State, West Georgia and Columbus State. Numbers in both categories are up almost 7 percent from 2010.
The Terry College’s Selig Center for Economic Growth came up with its numbers by analyzing financial and enrollment data. Most of the impact for Clayton State and the other schools grew directly from students and the schools’ own employees, but almost a third grew from “re-spending,” or the multiplier effect of dollars spent elsewhere in the region.
For every dollar of inital spending by a university system institution, another 39 cents was generated for the local economy. What’s more, student spending at all institutions rose 30 percent, and the number of jobs that owe their existence to that spending rose by 24 percent, from 106,267 to 131,990.
“That job growth is quite impressive given that the state’s total employment declined by 7 percent during that period,” said Jeffrey Humphreys, director of the Selig Center. “Without exception, each college or university in an economic lynchpin of its host community.”
One striking finding was that school-related spending creates far more jobs off campus than on campus. On average, every campus job generates two off-campus jobs, almost all in the private sector.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Grant Wainscott, Clayton County’s economic development director. “There’s certainly a lot of inherent value in what’s physically on campus, but it goes deeper than that.”
Wainscott cited Clayton State’s fully accredited business school, its nationally recognized program in supply-chain management and Spivey Hall as huge assets in recruiting employers to Clayton County.
“That really separates Clayton State from other universities in the Southeast,” he said.
Clayton County Chamber of Commerce president Yulonda Beauford wasn’t surprised, either.
“We already know that Clayton State is an economic generator,” she said. “But to see their continued growth is an indicator of Clayton State’s importance.”
Morrow Mayor JB Burke went a step further. “I think Clayton State is the bloodline for the city of Morrow,” he said.
Burke, who also manages motels, said that students’ visiting parents increases the area’s hotel-motel tax. He also said that Spivey Hall, Clayton State’s renowned recital venue, is a huge draw.
“I’m one of those types who looks at license plates in the parking lot, and I see a lot of DeKalb and Cherokee and Spalding plates,” Burke said. “It is so impressive to me that Spivey attracts that.”