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UNCW doubles economic impact on local economy since early 90s

Just south of one-point-one billion dollars:  that’s the total economic impact the University of North Carolina – Wilmington has on the surrounding community – according to a newly-released study. 

WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn talked with UNCW’s Senior Economist at the Swain Center for Business and Economic Services, Dr. Woody Hall, about how it all adds up. 

Part of that billion-dollar-plus number comes from one-time factors – such renovations or construction.  But this last year wasn’t particularly active in the building arena, according to Dr. Hall, because of recent financial constraints facing many public universities.  Dr. Hall says that most of the dollars that flow from UNCW into the eight-county region of southeastern North Carolina originate from three major sources. 

“Well, the largest component is UNCW spending itself.  The second largest component is faculty and staff spending.  The third component is student spending.  And we find that about 5% of total economic activity – that number 1.1 billion – it’s about 5% of total economic activity in the 8-county region.”

In the early 90s, the University’s dollar impact on the area was calculated at 500 million dollars -- not quite half of what it is today. 

Listen to the full interview with Dr. Woody Hall here:  UNCW Economic Impact Study

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.