Penn Compact 2020/

Engage Locally, Nationally and Globally: Penn Economic Impact Report

The University of Pennsylvania and Penn Medicine contribute $14 billion yearly, or $38 million per day, to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and $9.5 billion, or $26 million per day, to the City of Philadelphia. The 2010 economic and fiscal impact of the university is outlined in a new independent report conducted by Econsult Corp. of Philadelphia.

Penn’s economic impact on the Commonwealth grew by 46.5 percent since 2005, the last time these measures were reported. This impact translates to a 7.9 percent compound annual growth rate, which is helping buffer the state and the city from the global recession.

“Penn is a powerful economic engine in the region and the largest private employer in the city of Philadelphia,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “We not only contribute teaching, research, clinical care, and service to society, we also create and maintain jobs, our discoveries become innovations and start-up ventures, and our presence contributes to making Philadelphia a great place to live, work, study, and visit.”

During the national economic downturn, Penn was able to increase its spending almost 5 percent in fiscal 2010, while making adjustments to boost efficiency and productivity. Using data from the University and Health System’s financial statements for fiscal year 2010, the report shows that Penn is a powerful economic engine in the region, especially as a major employer, purchaser of goods and services, and builder of significant capital projects in medical research and academics. The university’s presence also attracts continued commercial development and bolsters the local construction industry.

Penn is also the second-largest private employer in Pennsylvania with more than 31,000 employees and an annual payroll of $2.3 billion. Directly and indirectly, Penn generates 145,500 jobs statewide, resulting in $6.1 billion in wages and salaries and $382 million in state taxes, which is an increase of 61.4 percent since 2005. Employees in the construction, real estate, architecture, hospitality, retail, trucking and manufacturing industries are employed indirectly through Penn’s activities.

As a preeminent research institution, Penn attracts nearly $800 million annually in sponsored funding from the federal government and other sources. Since 2009, Penn has been one of the largest non-governmental recipients of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  A one-time infusion totaling an additional $186 million boosted Penn’s overall research awards to $1 billion in 2010, which supports more than $155 million in research that is stimulating job creation and spending in the local economy.

Since 2006, Penn has increased staffing and resources by 30 percent at its Center for Technology Transfer, which obtained 262 patents, generated 1,637 invention disclosures and completed 322 commercialization agreements.  Also, the CTT formed agreements with 31 startup firms and has other early-stage ventures in incubation.

The report lists Penn’s capital investments as $463 million in direct expenditures that foster $653 million in indirect expenditures, for a total statewide impact of $1.12 billion.

Penn’s campus development plan, Penn Connects, is adding new buildings, large-scale renovations and infrastructure projects that are shaping the campus and its surrounding neighborhood, enhancing the physical connectivity between West Philadelphia and Center City and supporting the local construction trades. In 2011, the university is scheduled to open the 24-acre Penn Park along the Schuylkill River, break ground on its Singh Center for Nanotechnology at 33rd and Walnut Streets, and complete construction on a new Law School building.

Other highlights of the report:  

  • Overall, the statewide economic impact of Penn’s research activities alone is 15,500 jobs that come with $650 million in salaries and wages that put $42 million in taxes into state coffers. Philadelphia’s share of the research pie is 5,400 jobs, generating $240 million in wages and $11 million in taxes paid.
  • Overall impact on the city includes support of 57,200 jobs, $4 billion in wages and $172 million in local taxes.
  • Penn’s alumni who live outside the Philadelphia region contributed $92 million to the University in FY 2010 to support building projects, endow teaching positions and faculty chairs and provide undergraduate student financial aid, to name a few.
  • Operations spending is $12.2 billion, $5.2 billion in direct spending and $7 billion in indirect expenditure.
  • Spending by students and their families, by hospital patients and their visitors and by faculty and staff is $437 million, $233 million direct and $204 million indirect.  Thirty-five percent of all on-campus construction jobs go to minorities and women, and 26 percent of all contracts go to minority- and women-owned businesses.
  • Penn’s mortgage incentive program in University City has provided $5.5 million in grants to 799 Penn employees since 1988.

The report is available at