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August 20, 2021 | Tom Ballard

Just released ETEC report details significant growth in DOE’s economic impact on region and state

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge Reservation is a job-creation engine, accounting for more than $7 billion in economic benefits and supporting nearly 43,000 full-time jobs, according to a report released this morning by the East Tennessee Economic Council (ETEC).

The report examines the impact of DOE’s investment in Tennessee in FY 2020 and shows a significant additional impact since the last study conducted in 2017. The impact reported then was $5.6 billion in economic benefits and 34,360 full-time employees.

“Oak Ridge is home to a wealth of innovation and creativity, with world-class scientists and researchers and cutting-edge facilities that contribute to enhancing our national security, improving the environment, and advancing scientific discoveries,” ETEC President Jim Campbell said. “This report confirms the importance of DOE’s presence in Tennessee, cementing the state’s stature in scientific leadership and contributing to its economic success.”

The report, available at this link, details the scope and scale of DOE’s impact in the State of Tennessee. It looks at job creation, state gross domestic product growth, private-sector procurements, payroll and pension disbursement, state and local tax contributions, and the ripple effects of spending across the state. Those are reflected in the attached graphic.

Key findings from the report include:

  • DOE’s economic impact in the state of Tennessee equals $7.2 billion. Tennessee’s gross domestic product increased by approximately $4.2 billion as a result of overall spending by DOE and its contractors. Additionally, $2.9 billion in total personal income was generated by DOE–related activities in the state.
  • Nearly 43,000 full-time jobs are supported by DOE activities, including direct and indirect jobs. A total of 14,667 jobs were directly created by DOE and its contractors in Tennessee. An additional 28,239 jobs were created indirectly via DOE investment in the state. For every one job created by DOE and its contractors, an additional 1.9 jobs were created across the state.
  • The private sector supports DOE’s missions in Oak Ridge. DOE and its contractors procured approximately $940 million in various goods and services from Tennessee businesses in 2020. The largest category of purchasing was in professional, scientific, and technical services.
  • Approximately $108 million in state and local taxes were generated by DOE-related spending. A portion of these tax dollars enables communities in East Tennessee to enhance infrastructure and support education.
  • DOE’s Oak Ridge Reservation supports a well-educated and highly skilled talent pool.
    A world leader in transformative science and technology, it is home to scientists and researchers who collectively hold 1,828 D. degrees, 3,528 master’s degrees, and 6,749 bachelor’s degrees.
  • DOE’s presence in Tennessee has led to substantial community and educational benefits. DOE and its contractors gave nearly $4.2 million in charitable donations in 2020.

The report also features a series of case studies highlighting how the Oak Ridge Reservation and the East Tennessee prime contractors that support its operations impact the region’s economic viability and contribute to DOE’s science, security, and cleanup missions.

Research on the latest DOE economic impact report was conducted by ETEC and the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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