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Study reveals Carson-Newman provides big impact to city, county

Patrons order coffee at Carson-Newman’s Maples Coffeehouse. After a complete remodel this summer of the venue, the University and Aramark announced a partnership with Vienna Coffee. The collaborative effort is but one example of Carson-Newman’s impact on the local economy.

Carson-Newman University produces an $84 million annual impact on the area economy according to a recent study conducted by Younger Associates.

Carson-Newman-related operations support 688 jobs directly or indirectly in Jefferson County. These jobs, which pay $35.1 million in wages, generate $1.1 million in local taxes annually, benefiting such local needs as education, county operations and infrastructure.

The nearly 700 jobs make up 5.1% of total employment in the county, making C-N one of the largest employers in the area.

“One would be hard pressed to find a greater community than the one found here in Jefferson County,” said Carson-Newman President Charles A. Fowler. “It is the people and leadership of Jefferson County that have helped Carson-Newman to not only flourish for more than 170 years, but continue to support our Christ-centered mission within higher education. This study demonstrates this steadfast, reciprocal relationship between university and community.”

Additionally, the study indicated 52 indirect jobs exist across all economic sectors throughout Jefferson County because of University operations.  Industries benefitting from the indirect impact include retail, business and professional services, wholesale suppliers, transportation, utilities, and construction.

“[…] businesses and institutions that have been part of a community and economy for a long time do not get as much notice as a new entity. But well-established entities have a large ripple effect on the area where they are located because they are deeply interwoven into the economy with local suppliers and service providers,” said Younger Associates founder Dr. Sharon Younger. 

Student spending of $8.1 million indirectly supports 71 jobs within the county. Despite some lingering challenges and limitations created by the pandemic noted by the study, University-hosted events, including camps, meetings and athletic competitions add another $2.1 million to the area economy.

“The economic impact of an institution like Carson-Newman is layered,” said Kevin Triplett, vice president for University Relations. “Direct impact consists of jobs created by the University itself, faculty, staff and the contribution made by their living and working here. Indirect can turn over as much as three times. Contractors and vendors used by the University pay employees for their work, who then shop, eat out, which impacts the workers at those stores and restaurants. Students who work part-time while in school then buy groceries and gas. One local business shared its traffic drops at least 30% when students are not in town.”

Younger Associates has conducted hundreds of economic impact studies across the United States for more than 30 years. The firm’s methodology is recognized by the International Economic Development Council and utilized in courses by the Economic Development Institute. The Younger Associates model has been proven to be highly accurate, and even slightly conservative by design, in projecting tax revenue generation.

“Carson-Newman is so grateful to be an integral part of the local community and economy,” Fowler said. “We are stronger because of our community’s support of us and we believe this study shows that our community is stronger and healthier because of Carson-Newman’s presence and investment.”

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