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New Mexico State University

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Preliminary study reveals NMSU's half-a-billion dollar impact on county last fiscal year

A preliminary economic assessment shows that New Mexico State University 's main campus and Dona Ana Branch Community College contributed an estimated $578 million in economic activity in Dona Ana County during the 2004-05 fiscal year.

"What we've measured is the static impact, or the impact in a single year, of the expenditures made by NMSU's main campus and the Dona Ana Branch Community College ," said Jim Peach, a professor of economics and international business.

Peach and Anthony Popp, also a professor of economics and international business, prepared the study.

Of the $578 million, more than $369 million is direct spending contributed by faculty, staff and student spending, local spending on travel, utilities, capital outlay and equipment, and other supplies and expenses. In turn, direct spending generated an additional $208 million in indirect spending, $166 million in earnings and 8,401 jobs.

"Indirect spending results as individuals spend some money that is received from the direct spending," Popp said.

According to the study, NMSU-Las Cruces and DABCC employ 5,352 faculty and staff members with a payroll of more than $233 million, and 3,156 student employees with a payroll of more than $22 million. The total payroll is 11.6 percent of the $2.3 billion in total personal income (TPI) received by county employees in 2002, the most recent year for which TPI data is available.

Both Peach and Popp said that although the numbers are notable, NMSU has a much bigger influence on the county. Some important indicators that were not covered in this study include cultural activities of the university, the impact of research and technology transfer to businesses, the increase in earnings of graduates, and volunteer activities of faculty, staff and students. It also didn't measure the money spent by visitors coming to events at the university.

"If you think of all the events organized at the university such as plays, recitals and speeches, there are a lot of cultural and intellectual things that attract out-of-town visitors," Popp said. "In addition, organizations in Dona Ana probably wouldn't be as active or big without participation from university faculty and staff. From the cultural and volunteer point-of-view, we probably make as big of an impact on the county, and it maybe more important than the dollar impact."

A more in-depth analysis is anticipated for later this year.