Economic impact analysis report highlights UofM’s $1 billion contribution to local economy

June 12, 2020 -  $1 billion in economic output. $500 million in labor income. Nearly 10,000 jobs. These are just some of the impressive statistics to come from the latest economic impact analysis conducted by Applied Analysis for the University of Memphis.

The primary objective of the analysis was to quantify the economic contributions of the UofM to the Mid-South community as well as the State of Tennessee. The impact analysis considered the University’s recurring operations, capital investment projects and the benefits of its research efforts relative to its goal of achieving the nation’s highest research university classification – R1: Doctoral Universities, as defined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

From an operational perspective, the UofM contributes nearly $1.1 billion in economic activity annually, supports nearly $500 million in wages and salary payments for local workers and is directly or indirectly responsible for roughly 9,900 Memphis-area jobs. 

“The University of Memphis is a pivotal cornerstone of the Memphis community, not only providing thousands of jobs, but also contributing to the economy in substantial ways,” said Ted Townsend, chief economic development and government relations officer for the University of Memphis. “The University is well-positioned to reach our goal of achieving R1 status, which will help attract high-level students and researchers who will continue to propel the University forward as a major economic driver to the state’s growth.”

With roughly 6,600 employees, the UofM is one of Tennessee’s largest employers, directly and indirectly impacting the lives of tens of thousands of residents, including 22,000 enrolled students.  

Further, a single UofM graduating class increases incomes within the State of Tennessee by nearly $110 million annually. Over the past decade, graduating classes earned a combined $2.1 billion statewide.  

“The University of Memphis is a critical part of the Mid-South ecosystem,” said UofM President M. David Rudd. “Our impact on the local economy and our position as a leading employer heighten our importance in Memphis and make us keenly aware of the responsibility we have to our employees, students and the community as a whole.” 

Part of the University’s commitment to research and innovation is the UMRF Research Park, which opened in early 2019. It operates in collaboration with the Office of EconomicDevelopment and Government Relations and has quickly become known as an innovation hub, attracting global talent and employers to enhance the greater community that the University serves.

“The UMRF Research Park has become a beacon of innovation and creativity, cultivating connectivity between growth-stage companies and researchers who are dedicated to improving Memphis and developing our students in strategic, unique ways,” Townsend said.

The University’s annual research expenses are extensive, and, over the course of the past five years, the University’s research expenditures have directly contributed between $45.3 million and $77 million each year to the local economy. Since 2016, overall University spending on research has increased by 50%, or a compound annual growth rate of 10%. 

Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, executive vice president for research and innovation for the UofM, is responsible for the planning and implementation of the University's strategic research plan. 

”Carnegie R1 status represents the top tier in terms of research excellence,” said Dhaliwal. “We are quickly developing such a Carnegie R1 culture whereby faculty researchers take it upon themselves to fund, (to the greatest extent possible in their particular fields), their own research ideas, graduate students and research labs. This injection of outside research funding from sources such as federal research agencies, foundations and companies yields significant multiplier effects at the University and in the regional community.” 

The report also highlighted several research areas of the UofM to include Mobile Sensor Data-to-Knowledge (MD2K), Cyber Security and Blockchain, Agritech and more. 

Since 2018, the Government Relations and Policy at the University of Memphis has secured more than $18 million in private investments from local, national and international companies. Its mission is to focus on University-driven economicdevelopment by strategically positioning community-based public and private investments that attract high-quality job growth through the creation, expansion and recruitment of advanced technology businesses.

View the full report >