Lehigh Valley contributes more than $54 million to state economy

Fogelsville, Pa. (April 24, 2009) – Penn State's impact extends well beyond its teaching and research. In fact, Penn State is Pennsylvania's largest economic engine, generating more than $17 billion a year in overall economic impact and supporting more than 67,000 jobs. Penn State Lehigh Valley was responsible for $54.5 million of that amount and nearly 319 jobs in the region.

In an independent report released April 23, data show that Penn State not only is fueling the growth of Pennsylvania by directly generating nearly $8.5 billion in economic impact but also influences an additional $8.7 billion through business services, research commercialization and the activities of alumni.

The economic impact of Penn State's operations and employment is only the first chapter in a powerful economic story that affects every community in the Commonwealth. As the largest generator of total employment among nongovernmental entities, Penn State's direct payroll and benefits obligation is one of the University's biggest benefits to the economy. The majority of the $2.1 billion annual payroll goes to Pennsylvania residents who spend most of their disposable income in the state, and of that, Penn State Lehigh Valley faculty and staff contribute approximately $4.4 million.

In addition, Penn State students also add millions of dollars to the Pennsylvania economy. Penn State students overall spent more than $932 million in the Commonwealth in 2008, and Penn State Lehigh Valley students were responsible for $12 million of that contribution. Out-of-state visitors also contributed just over $6 million in the region.

"Clearly, Penn State has positive effects on the Pennsylvania economy and contributes much to the economic vitality of the state. I think the University's purchase of the property in Center Valley that will become the new main campus of Penn State Lehigh Valley is an indicator of our commitment to the economic development of the Lehigh Valley," said Ann Williams, chancellor of the Lehigh Valley campus. "We look forward to increasing the impact that our students, faculty, and staff will have in our new location."

Penn State contributes in a variety of ways to the vitality of Pennsylvania's economy. According to the report, the University generated more than 2 percent of the state's business volume or more than $1 out of every $50 dollars in the state's total economy. In addition, Penn State leverages its state funding. For every dollar invested in 2008 by the Commonwealth to support the operations of Penn State, the University returned $25.06 in economic impact to Pennsylvania.

The four-month study by Pittsburgh-based Tripp Umbach indicates that Penn State's impact far outweighs other industries in the state. With the total direct, indirect and induced annual economic impact equaling more than $17 billion, the University currently creates more impact than the combined total impact of all of the state's airport hubs, professional sports teams, and arts and cultural organizations, by attracting nearly 1 million visitors and channeling more than $1.73 billion annually into Pennsylvania's economy.

With more than 11,000 alumni association members, the Lehigh Valley region also holds the distinction of having the second largest Penn State alumni population outside of Centre County, making them a driver of economic impact in the state. According to the study, alumni who reside in Pennsylvania generate $1.9 billion annually in additional economic impact, and contribute $59 million in additional government revenue for the Commonwealth.

Furthermore, the report estimates that more than 17,000 Penn State alumni own businesses in Pennsylvania. These businesses directly employ more than 475,000 residents. The average wage of employees at companies owned by Penn State graduates is $9,800 higher than the average wage earner in Pennsylvania. This translates into more than $4.1 billion in additional expansion of the state’s economy and more than $125 million in additional government revenue for the Commonwealth annually.

The report also highlights the University's direct and indirect impact on every county in the state. In 2008, Penn State had a combined total impact of nearly $35 million on Lehigh and Northampton Counties, with roughly $4 million spent by visitors attending conferences, sporting, cultural and alumni events.

Other key findings in the 2009 Tripp Umbach report include that University annually expends more than $700 million through its research activities. Research at Penn State supports more than 18,000 additional jobs in Pennsylvania, which generates more than $1.9 billion in additional economic impact and more than $61 million in additional revenue for the Commonwealth annually.

To view the report in its entirety, visit http://econimpact.psu.edu

About Penn State Lehigh Valley...
Penn State Lehigh Valley provides a Penn State University education in a small campus setting that integrates individualized teaching, research, and dynamic community outreach. With two locations – the main campus in Fogelsville and the Corporate Learning Center in Bethlehem – traditional students and adult learners can choose from many convenient options including bachelor’s and associate’s degree programs, a master’s degree in English as a second language, and access to the nearly 160 academic programs offered by Penn State. In addition, the Corporate Learning Center offers state-of-the-art rental facilities available to local businesses and organizations for training, conferencing and professional development. For more information, visit www.lv.psu.edu.


Last Updated April 24, 2009