Fort Drum regional economic impact totals nearly $1.9 billion and supports 6,500 additional jobs in the region

WATERTOWN, NY – According to the results of its economic impact
model, Advocate Drum (also known as the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization, or FDRLO) estimates that Fort Drum’s 2019 economic impact totaled $1.7 billion in the three- county region that includes the counties of Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence. The value-added portion of that impact accounts for 11.6% of the region’s Gross Domestic Product. The FDRLO model estimates that in addition to the 19,148 military and civilian personnel directly employed at Fort Drum in 2019 (which makes it the largest single-site employer in New York State), Fort Drum spending also supported an additional 5,465 jobs in the larger regional economy.

“Those are jobs not on Fort Drum, but that exist off-post because of Fort Drum”, noted David J. Zembiec, Deputy CEO at Jefferson County Economic Development and an Advocate Drum board member.

He added that the 24,613 Fort Drum related jobs account for 22% of the region’s wage earners. The model estimates that 23,087 of those job holders reside in Jefferson County; 1,072 in Lewis; 268 in St. Lawrence; and 187 outside the Tri-County area.

Fort Drum annually reports its spending in various categories for the preceding fiscal year. However, that annual report accounts for direct spending only.

“In order to understand the full economic impact of that spending on the three-county region, you have to understand the additional economic activity that spending generates and the jobs that spending supports”, said Mr. Zembiec. “We entered the numbers reported by Fort Drum into a model developed just for that purpose.”

Advocate Drum’s economic impact model was developed by the Economic Development Research Group, Boston, MA. The model is maintained for Advocate Drum by the Jefferson County Planning Department.

When Fort Drum’s direct expenditures are entered, the model takes into consideration that different categories of spending reported by Fort Drum have different multiplier effects in the local economy. Those impacts include the off-post jobs and business income stimulated by Fort Drum’s spending, and the re-spending of that income on consumer purchases and additional business sales in the region. In addition to Fort Drum’s direct spending of over $1.3 billion for payroll and purchases, the model adds nearly $360 million in indirect and induced business activity to arrive at the total impact $1.696 billion.

The model also estimates how the additional 5,465 jobs supported by Fort Drum related activity are distributed across 20 different industry sectors and occupations. By industry sector, the top five categories are health care and social services, followed by educational services, retail trade, real estate, and food and accommodations. The top 5 occupations are office and administrative, education and training, healthcare practitioners, sales, and healthcare support.