A ‘Quiet Powerhouse’ for Georgia Economy

Emory is Atlanta's fourth-largest private employer and supports almost 50,000 jobs

If the sweeping, humming, bustling enterprise that is Emory were to be swallowed by the earth tomorrow—an event that is almost geologically impossible—it would leave a canyon-like crater in the Georgia economy, according to a recent independent study on the impact of the university.

As the fourth-largest private employer in metro Atlanta, Emory accounts for more than $5.1 billion in economic activity annually, and directly or indirectly supports almost fifty thousand jobs in Georgia, according to the analysis performed by Appleseed, a New York City economic analysis firm.

Last year, Emory and Emory Healthcare spent more than $2.5 billion on payroll, purchasing, and construction. Researchers working primarily (but not exclusively) in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center generated $450 million in sponsored research spending and were awarded $535 million in new research funding. Most of this total represents competitively awarded funding from outside the state, attracting new dollars for Georgia.

Looking ahead, the study found that Emory anticipates spending more than $780 million in construction and renovation projects for both the university and health care system in the next five years—an investment that should lead to the creation of jobs in a construction industry eager to rebound.

President James Wagner called Emory a “quiet powerhouse” for the region. “In the 175th anniversary year of Emory’s charter, we take great satisfaction in what these many decades of work by innumerable faculty, students, and staff have accomplished for all of us—in Atlanta, Georgia, the nation, and the world,” he said. “And we feel equal gratitude for the support of so many friends and partners in this rewarding work of teaching, discovery, health care, and community service.”

In other impact measures, about forty-one thousand of the university’s 114,000 alumni live in Georgia, while about one-quarter of Georgia’s physicians have been trained at Emory, many in the School of Medicine residency programs at Grady Memorial Hospital. Nearly nine out of ten students at Emory regularly volunteer in the community, many through Volunteer Emory, a clearinghouse founded by two undergraduates in 1980. And more than fifteen hundred community members volunteered for Emory Cares International Service Day in November.

The arts at Emory attract nearly one hundred thousand people to performances and events throughout the year, making the arts second only to Emory’s health care operations for bringing people to the campus. The university’s Carlos Museum galleries hosted more than seventy-two thousand visitors in 2010.

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