Conclusion and Context

Many economic impact studies contain very large numbers that may be hard to put into context. For example, what does it mean if the economic impact of the UW System is $24 billion on an annual basis? Or what does 167,000 jobs mean to the average person in Wisconsin?

1 in 20 Wisconsin jobs are related to UW System economic activity

The size of the UW System economic impact can be reported in terms of its proportion of the entire amount of economic activity in Wisconsin. For 2017, the value of all goods and services produced by Wisconsin workers was $313 billion. The UW System economic activity in 2016-17 amounts to 7.7% of the total economic activity in the state. In other words, UW System activity amounts to $7.70 for each $100 of economic activity in the state.

It is also useful to look at the jobs generated by UW System activity in the context of the entire Wisconsin workforce and total employment. Wisconsin’s workforce numbers about 3.16 million workers of whom about 3.06 million are employed. The nearly 167,000 jobs generated or supported by UW System economic activity represents 5.5% of the total number of employed workers in Wisconsin. Stated another way, about 1 in 20 jobs are related to UW System economic activity in the state.

The UW System accounts for $7.70 of each $100 of economic activity in Wisconsin.

In summary, the numbers reported in this study are large and very important to the Wisconsin economy. UW System campuses and related organizations and activities constitute one of the largest enterprises in the state. In total, they produce an annual economic impact of over $24 billion. They further generate nearly 167,000 jobs and over $1.1 billion in state and local taxes.

Photo of UW-Parkside graduates