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New Study Shows Economic Impact of Healthcare and Higher Education

A new economic study shows that healthcare and higher education have a combined impact of nearly $5.5 billion on the local economy. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

The study examined the impact that healthcare and higher education have on the local economy by way of capitol expenditures, operation costs and job creation.

The study found that healthcare contributes 4 point 5 billion dollars to the economy in the Springfield metro, which includes the counties of Greene, Polk, Dallas, Webster and Christian.

As for higher education, the analysis showed that sector contributes just less than 900 million dollars to the local economy.

Robert Lewis is president of Development Strategies, Incorporated, the St Louis-based firm that did the analysis.

He says the economic impact figures are conservative estimates of the economic impact that healthcare and higher education have on the local economy.

He says there were certain factors that were not included in the study.

In some ways, the results of the study surprised Lewis.

He says he was surprised to see the impact that healthcare has on the local economy.

On the other side, Lewis says he expected higher education to have a more significant economic impact than the analysis implies.

Missouri State University officials say they're not surprised by the numbers reflected in the analysis.

Jim Baker is Vice President of Research and Economic Development for the university and chairs the Healthcare and Higher Education Task Force for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

Baker says he wasn't surprised to see that healthcare contributes more to the local economy than higher education.

The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Springfield paid for the study, which cost about

President of the Springfield Chamber, Jim Anderson says he expects the chamber to pursue economic impact studies of other areas of the economy.

Anderson says the chamber will use information from this studies to underscore the importance of the healthcare and higher education sectors to the local economy.

He says the chamber has already completed a labor gap/needs analysis in healthcare to help universities understand the workforce needs of area providers.