By Paul O. Barrus, '02
BYU accounts for 15,550 jobs and spends nearly $380 million each year in Provo and Orem. Since 1986, BYU's total direct and indirect expenditure impact has increased more than threefold, according to a recent economic survey presented by President Merrill J. Bateman to the Provo-Orem Chamber of Commerce. "We conduct these surveys every 5 to 10 years," says Bateman, "because the local community is very important to us. We want to take every opportunity to strengthen our relationships, and the information we gather from an economic impact survey helps us do that."
The survey was conducted by National Research Associates, headed by Robert J. Parsons, a BYU professor and economist. It shows that not only does BYU benefit the community culturally through athletic events, conferences, and exhibits, it also makes a significant financial contribution.
"Our surveys show a dynamic university in a very dynamic community," Parsons says. For example, while the number of BYU jobs increased by about 60 percent from 1986 to 2001, its employment as a percentage of Utah County jobs decreased from 9.8 to 5.8 percent. "That means the community has experienced strong employment growth during those years," says Parsons. "The university has grown, but the community has grown even more."
Bateman expresses gratitude for the opportunities provided to BYU by the county and surrounding cities. "We want to be good neighbors," Bateman says. "Higher education is a wonderful industry for Utah County, providing not just education but stable employment, steady growth, and great recreational and cultural activities to its residents."