Study Reveals UMD's Significant Positive Impact on the Local Economy

A new study shows UMD's economic impact on Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region and Douglas County, Wisconsin.

The Labovitz School’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) reports that UMD contributed almost $582 million in local production and support to Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region and Douglas County, Wisconsin, along with more than 4,100 jobs in 2019 and 2020.  The total impact includes operations, construction, and student and visitor spending. 

A closer look at the impact numbers is detailed below. 

UMD budgeted $260 million in operational expenses during the two years, which included $188 million in compensation and benefits for nearly 1,800 employees. UMD also spent more than $8 million annually on construction projects. 

“These are the direct expenses that UMD has, but when you look at how they ripple through the local economy, it actually multiplies to create more jobs and more spending in the region,” explains Monica Haynes, director of the BBER. Examples of this dispersion include things like additional labor and inter-industry spending.

Haynes and her team found that the specific ripple effect of the operational expenditures resulted in nearly 3,000 jobs and nearly $436 million of additional output, while the construction spending led to a total of 82 jobs and more than $11 million of additional output throughout the study region.

Student and visitor spending provides a significant contribution to the local economy, as well. The BBER’s report found that UMD students spent an estimated $88 million, and their visitors spent an additional $10 million in 2019 and 2020. Combined, this spending produced more than 1,100 jobs and increased output for the region by nearly $135 million.

“The economic impact of almost $582 million demonstrates that UMD has been, and continues to be, a powerful engine for economic growth in the region,” said UMD Chancellor Lendley Black. 

Add in the volume of impressive research done by the faculty and UMD’s transformational education that produces career-ready graduates, and it’s clear that UMD plays a vitally important role in the vibrancy of our region, state, and beyond.” 

Duluth harbor in winter from Hawk Ridge

In total, the impact of all UMD expenditures and those related to its students and their friends and families is estimated to have supported more than 4,100 jobs with a total effect on regional output of more than $581 million.

UMD’s Economic Impact

2019-2020 study (in millions)

Economic Impact of UMD Operations 


Economic Impact of Construction


Economic Impact of Student and Visitor Spending


Total Impact 


The report, “The Economic Impact of the University of Minnesota Duluth on Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region and Douglas County, Wisconsin,” can be found on the U of M’s Digital Conservancy website.