2017 SRS Economic Impact and Workforce Transition Study

The operations at Savannah River Site (SRS) create jobs, generate income, and contribute to the tax revenues across the SRS Community Reuse Organization (SRSCRO) region. According to the recent Economic Impact Study released by the SRSCRO, SRS generated an economic impact of roughly $2.4 billion per year in the regional economy in 2016.

The five-county region studied includes Aiken, Allendale and Barnwell Counties in South Carolina, and Columbia and Richmond Counties in Georgia.  These counties were chosen because this is the area which comprises the SRSCRO’s major area of influence as the DOE-designated Community Reuse Organization for the Savannah River Site.

SRS employed 8,566 residents of the five-county region in 2016 (over 80 percent of the Site’s total workforce).  The average job at SRS pays approximately 2.3 times the regional average. The projected impact of a 1,000 job loss or gain at SRS would be a total regional job impact of 1,700, and a loss or gain of $200 million in output.

In addition to measuring the economic impact of SRS, the analysis estimates the consequences of the potential impact of future job fluctuations and future workforce transition, and adds research to identify how communities in the region can prepare for anticipated changes in the makeup of the SRS workforce. A large segment of the report highlights broader implications for the five-county communities of a “next generation workforce.”  Implications “where further investments may be needed” include single family housing and rental property inventory; educational programming to attract new residents; and “quality of place” projects to complement existing community amenities.

Beyond the present day economic impact, the study highlights the ramifications of an ongoing SRS workforce transition.  The average age of a Site employee is near 50, and a large portion of the Site workforce will be eligible for retirement in three to five years.  One scenario in the report looks at a retirement estimate of 25 to 35 percent of the current workforce; the economic impacts of those estimates based upon the earnings of the future workforce, and the economic behavior of the new retiree population.  Although the economic impact of this transition is uncertain, there is no doubt the influx of new residents from the SRS workforce transition and from Fort Gordon will influence the local housing markets, education systems, and quality of place.

The study was prepared by TIP Strategies, an economic development consulting firm with offices in Austin, Texas and Seattle, Washington.  The firm partnered with Simon Medcalfe, Associate Professor of Finance at Augusta University’s Hull College of Business.

Copy of the SRS Economic Impact Study – Full Report

Copy of the SRS Economic Impact Study – Summary