02/10/04 — Base ads $800 million to economy

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Base ads $800 million to economy

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on February 10, 2004 2:02 PM

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base affects nearly 15,000 employees and contributes $800 million to the state's economy, according to a new study.

The study was prepared for the N.C. Advisory Commission on Military Affairs, which makes recommendations to the governor about the economic effect and relationship between the bases and their surrounding communities. The commission is working to get the state to view military bases in the way it views industry when considering economic development. The study was prepared by East Carolina University Regional Development Services; Regional Economic Models Inc., of Amherst, Mass.; and N.C. State University's Division of Community Engagement. The commission has met several times in Goldsboro, and several Wayne County residents are on the commission.

Work for the study began in the middle of last year in hopes of updating a similar study that was done in the mid 1990s.

The study indicates that the Base Realignment and Closing Commission has begun its initial steps in another round of military assessments and it is expected that the next series of BRAC recommendations will occur during the latter part of 2005.

Based upon the projections of the gross state product of North Carolina, the contribution of all aspects of the military dollars spent exceeds $18 billion, or 7 percent of the gross state product.

About 70 percent, or $12 billion, is contributed to that total by the primary military bases through the operations of the bases, purchases and payroll of military and civilian employees.

Defense contracts and retiree payments account for another $1.43 billion and $1.51 billion, according to the study.

The $12 billion contributed to the gross state product by the major military bases includes over $5 billion by Camp Lejeune, $4.7 billion by the Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base. Cherry Point and Seymour Johnson also exert significant contributions at $1.5 billion and $800 million, respectively.

Over 333,000 people have some link to the military or its economic stimulation. Of this total, nearly 262,000 people are projected as directly related to military operations, while nearly 60,000 people are affected by industrial contracts and the dollars flowing into the state for retirement payments to military personnel, the study indicates.

The base affected employment runs from over 90,000 people in the Camp Lejeune area to almost 83,000 people in the Fort Bragg and Pope area. Cherry Point's projected contribution to the employment picture is nearly 30,000 people, while Seymour Johnson affects nearly 15,000 employees.

The non-military labor force is also greatly affected by the economic impact of military dollars. Nearly 84,000 jobs are stimulated by the economic activity associated with military spending in various ways.

Over 80 percent of this total is the operation and expenditures associated with the military bases within the state. The remaining 20 percent, or 16,000 jobs, are related to retirees and the contracts that the Defense Department has in place in 77 of the state's counties. Over 42,000 people in the labor force are influenced in the Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg/Pope labor markets.

Almost $13 billion in personal income is gained in the state by economic activities related to the military, its bases and its personnel.

The real disposable income, the primary life blood of local economies, exceeds $10 billion related to the various aspects of military spending and stimulus. This is especially true in the base areas where over $5 billion in disposable income is created from the operation and payrolls of the bases.

Industrial activity within the state is accelerated by the many forms of military spending as $23 billion in demand is created while another almost $14 billion in output is generated by the dollars and economic demands placed on the economy by the presence of military spending.

Just over 57 percent of the demand dollars are produced from economic activity associated with the military bases, 20 percent by retiree dollars and another 22 percent by the industrial contracts, according to the study.