UC Merced generated $500M in one year for San Joaquin Valley economy, report shows
A report commissioned by UC Merced’s chancellor shows the university has generated thousands of jobs — and hundreds of millions of dollars — for the San Joaquin Valley’s economy. Conducted by international market analysis firm Emsi Inc., the campus’s inaugural economic impact report indicated a total of $514.6 million was contributed to Valley’s economy by the university in fiscal year 2018-19 alone, helping create 5,560 jobs. For Merced County, the university generated $372.9 million and 4,109 jobs. “Like the Merced community, UC Merced is a dynamic institution with change on the horizon as we grow and expand,” Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz said in a news release.
The report looked at how salaries and spending shaped the community, plus how the university generated a return on investments to its major stakeholders — students, taxpayers, and society at large. Students — specifically off-campus students — spent money on groceries, accommodation, transportation, and other household expenses, which contributed $27.4 million to Merced County’s economy and supported 564 jobs countywide. UC Merced’s student population for fall last year was more than 9,000.
The benefits created by UC Merced extend to state and local governments through increased tax revenues and public sector savings. “The university’s reputation and activities attract visitors and students from outside Merced County, whose expenditures benefit county vendors,” part of the report said. “In addition, UC Merced is a primary source of higher education to Merced County residents and a supplier of trained workers to county industries, enhancing overall productivity in the county workforce.”
The university regularly encourages students to volunteer in Merced County, which allowed room for growth for business and organizations, according to the report. As a result, students added $243.9 thousand in earnings to the county’s economy, and student volunteers “generated $368,000 in added income for the county in fiscal year 2018-19,” which is equivalent to supporting 15 jobs. Alumni produced $11.4 million in added income for the county’s economy, which equates to supporting 132 jobs. “This means that one out of every 26 jobs in Merced County is supported by the activities of UC Merced and its students,” the report said. “In addition, the $372.9 million, or 4,109 supported jobs, stemmed from different industry sectors. UC Merced’s spending and alumni in the construction industry sector supported 1,785 jobs in fiscal year 2018-19. These are impacts that would not have been generated without the university’s presence in Merced County.”
Ultimately, the report said the university creates value from multiple perspectives, from benefiting county businesses through consumer spending and supplying qualified and trained workers to different job fields.