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Indirect spending boosts Drum’s economic impact on north country to $1.89 billion

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Data from the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization indicate that the post has a larger impact on the north country economy than Army calculations show, when indirect economic activity is taken into account.

The group said the post had a combined economic impact of about $1.89 billion in 2013, including $1.47 billion in direct spending from the post and $420 million in other jobs and economic development spurred by the post’s activity.

The post’s data, which track only direct spending from Fort Drum in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, pegged the impact for 2013 at slightly less than $1.42 billion, down from $1.44 billion in 2012.

Carl A. McLaughlin, the organization’s executive director, said the group’s numbers show the wider picture of the post’s impact.

“That’s real money in the economy, real jobs created to support Fort Drum, in terms of population and economic activity,” he said.

The FDRLO tabulation shows a small increase from the $1.86 billion in impact for 2012, which included $357 million in indirect activity.

Among the indirect activity tabulated were business investments and subsequent consumer sales. The increase in impact from 2012 to 2013 was attributed to the higher level of construction, which counteracted decreases in spending elsewhere.

The FDRLO figures were developed by Economic Development Research Group of Boston, and the model is maintained by the Jefferson County Planning Department.

The tabulations from the FDRLO show that an additional 6,491 indirect jobs were supported off-post in 2013 that would not exist without the military activity, up from the 6,069 indirect jobs supported in 2012.

The FDRLO data come as the Army plans to decrease the number of active-duty soldiers from about 520,000 to about 440,000-450,000, and possibly to as low as 420,000 soldiers if sequestration remains in 2016. The Army also is assessing the impact that would result from reducing an additional 14,500 soldiers and civilian workers in addition to the 1,500 soldiers already slated to be deactivated.

Mr. McLaughlin said the goal for the region is to avoid seeing the number of soldiers and civilian defense workers fall dramatically, which would “have a dramatic impact on all the things we’ve come to enjoy.”

“We want to hold onto as much as possible,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “That’s what it’s all about for us.”

FORT DRUM ECONOMIC IMPACT
The post’s calculations track direct spending:
2010: $1.51 billion 2011: $1.63 billion 2012: $1.44 billion 2013: $1.42 billion
Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization data include economic activity indirectly tied to the post:
2010: $2.15 billion 2011: $1.94 billion 2012: $1.86 billion 2013: $1.89 billion
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