Study reveals Colorado State University - Pueblo has $128 million economic impact

Study reveals Colorado State University - Pueblo has $128 million economic impact
PUEBLO – According to a study released recently by Kevin Duncan, professor and senior economist with the Healy Center for Business and Economic Research in the Hasan School of Business at Colorado State University- Pueblo, the University has a total economic impact on Pueblo County of about $128 million annually. The report also shows that CSU-Pueblo contributes to the vibrancy of Colorado’s economy through alumni who live in all but one county (Jackson) in Colorado.

This reported impact represents 3.1 percent of Pueblo County Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  This increased economic activity is associated with the generation of $3.2 million in local tax revenue (about $1 million in sales taxes collected by the city, $140,000 in county sales taxes, and $2.0 million in local property taxes).  This represents approximately 3.9 percent of total sales and property taxes collected by the city and county governments each year.

According to Duncan, the economic impact is estimated by asking what would happen to the flow of funds into the county if the university did not exist or were moved to another location. The most obvious is that the University’s budget would be diverted from Pueblo along with the federal and state grant funds, financial aid, and other sources of student revenue like tuition and fees. The last such report was co-authored in 2004 by Duncan and colleague Jay Goodman, who estimated the economic impact to be $112 million annually.  In 1999, Duncan estimated the economic impact of then University of Southern Colorado to be about $64 million.

“One major note to emphasize is that the citizens of Pueblo County do not need to be directly involved with the University in order to benefit from its presence in the county,” Duncan said.

CSU System Chancellor Joe Blake noted that in this time of economic uncertainty, the CSU System’s strategic plan focuses on teaching, research and service to transform Colorado’s future and to improve the quality of life in the state. The plan, CSU System’s Commitment to Building a Stronger Colorado, is driven by performance and measurable results in four areas – ensuring student satisfaction and success, creating financial sustainability, expanding our statewide presence, and  transforming Colorado’s future by providing an educated workforce and creating new companies to keep Colorado competitive. “We know the CSU System is a major force in Colorado’s economy and we want to do everything we can to support and accelerate Colorado’s economic recovery,” said Blake.
“Evidence of that fact comes from CSU-Pueblo’s economic impact of $128 million annually in southern Colorado as well as the $312 million in annual research at CSU-Fort Collins, which has generated  2,500 jobs and established more than 20 companies.”

Highlights of the report include:
• The total impact of CSU-Pueblo on Pueblo County’s economy is $128 million annually, including all direct and indirect impacts as a result of the presence of the University and its students. Total local employment attributed to the presence of the University is nearly 1,400 jobs.
• The economic impact is spread across many sectors of the local economy with businesses not directly linked to CSU-Pueblo experiencing substantial revenue and employment gains.  For example, annual revenue in the local real estate industry is higher by about $17.5 million because of the presence of CSU-Pueblo.  Similarly, the local motor vehicle industry (sales, parts, and repair) enjoys an additional $6.7 million in revenue and 86 more jobs.  The local utility industry (telecommunications, natural gas and electric) receives additional revenue of approximately $6.6 million and 12 more jobs because of the local economic activity associated with the university.  Employment in the restaurant and broadly defined retail sector is greater by 257 employees.
• The typical CSU-Pueblo graduate who works and lives in Pueblo earns about $17,500 more than the typical resident with a high school degree. With 5,600 alumni living and working in the county, the aggregate value-added of a CSU-Pueblo degree to income in the county is nearly $100 million.  This value-added to local income induces an additional $28 million in local income.  Therefore, the total valued-added income impact of CSU-Pueblo graduates living in Pueblo County is approximately $127 million annually.  This represents 3.1 percent of Pueblo County GDP.  The value-added impact ($127 million) can be added to the impact associated with the operation of the university ($128 million) for an overall annual impact on the Pueblo County impact of approximately $255 million.  This overall impact is 6.2 percent of Pueblo County GDP. 
• CSU-Pueblo graduates contribute to the vibrancy of Colorado’s economy. Alumni reside in every county but one (Jackson) in Colorado and have careers ranging from healthcare, to education, business, as well as service in the military and volunteerism.
• The income and employment of current CSU-Pueblo employees and working graduates totals nearly $550 million and 12,500 jobs in Colorado.  These individuals contribute about $17.5 million in state income tax and $6.7 million in state sales taxes annually. 

The complete report may be found on the Healy Center site at

Kevin Duncan is professor and senior economist, Healy Center for Business and Economic Research, Hasan School of Business, Colorado State University, Pueblo, where he specializes in labor and regional economics.   He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Utah in 1987 and his B.A. from the University of California, Riverside in 1981.  He is the author of 21 academic articles, 25 applied regional projects, and the winner of several honors and awards including the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Research, the Outstanding Faculty Member Award for the Hasan School of Business, the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Student Choice Award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as the Dean’s Advisory Council Award for Outstanding Faculty Member. 

He is a nationally recognized expert on prevailing wage laws, has published in the leading international journal on construction economics, and has provided expert testimony to the Colorado and Hawaii state legislatures on policy related to construction labor markets.  He has also provided data and analysis to the Legislative Auditor’s Office during the review of Minnesota’s prevailing wage law.  He is the author of numerous economic impact studies that have examined the effect of the America’s Cup Races, Colorado State Fair, CSU-Pueblo, project labor and local hire agreements, the installation and operation of wind energy towers, the nonprofit sector, as well as the impact of the proposed Colorado Amendment 61.  He teaches regional economics, encouraging them and training them to do economic impact studies.

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.