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DOE Economic Impact Studies

The Department of Energy creates billions in economic benefit and high-quality jobs for the state of Tennessee.

“Oak Ridge can never become just another attractive American city. Its fame and its honors based upon past achievements are already too great for this, and its heavy responsibilities for the future of both America and the world preclude the possibility of a quiet, completely normal existence.”

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge Reservation is a job-creation engine, creating more than $7 billion in economic benefits and supporting nearly 43,000 full-time jobs, according to a report released today by the East Tennessee Economic Council (ETEC). The report examines the impact of DOE’s investment in Tennessee in fiscal year 2020.

“Oak Ridge is home to a wealth of innovation and creativity, with world-class scientists and researchers and cutting-edge facilities that contribute to enhancing our national security, improving the environment, and advancing scientific discoveries,” ETEC President Jim Campbell said. “This report confirms the importance of DOE’s presence in Tennessee, cementing the state’s stature in scientific leadership and contributing to its economic success.”

The report details the scope and scale of DOE’s impact in the state of Tennessee. It looks at job creation, state GDP growth, private-sector procurements, payroll and pension disbursement, state and local tax contributions, and the ripple effects of spending across the state.

Key findings from the report include:

  • DOE’s economic impact in the state of Tennessee equals $7.2 billion. – Tennessee’s gross domestic product increased by approximately $4.2 billion as a result of overall spending by DOE and its contractors. Additionally, $2.9 billion in total personal income was generated by DOE–related activities in the state.
  •  Nearly 43,000 full-time jobs are supported by DOE activities, including direct and indirect jobs. – 14,667 jobs were directly created by DOE and its contractors in Tennessee. An additional 28,239 jobs were created indirectly via DOE investment in the state. For every one job created by DOE and its contractors, an additional 1.9 jobs were created across the state.
  •  The private sector supports DOE’s missions in Oak Ridge. – DOE and its contractors procured approximately $940 million in various goods and services from Tennessee businesses in 2020. The largest category of purchasing was in professional, scientific, and technical services.
  •  Approximately $108 million in state and local taxes were generated by DOE-related spending. – A portion of these tax dollars enables communities in East Tennessee to enhance infrastructure and support education.
  • DOE’s Oak Ridge Reservation supports a well-educated and highly skilled talent pool. – A world leader in transformative science and technology, it is home to scientists and researchers who collectively hold 1,828 D. degrees, 3,528 master’s degrees, and 6,749 bachelor’s degrees.
  • DOE’s presence in Tennessee has led to substantial community and educational benefits. – DOE and its contractors gave nearly $4.2 million in charitable donations in 2020.

The report also features a series of case studies that highlight how the Oak Ridge Reservation and the East Tennessee prime contractors that support its operations impact the region’s economic viability and contribute to DOE’s science, security, and cleanup missions.

“Oak Ridge National Laboratory plays a key role in sustaining U.S. leadership in research and development and addressing global challenges including climate change, demand for clean energy, and physical and cybersecurity for the grid,” said Thomas Zacharia, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “These national missions also hold significant economic benefit for Tennessee and our local community.”

“UCOR’s work across the Oak Ridge Reservation is making a significant positive economic impact on the region. Our historic cleanup of the East Tennessee Technology Park is enabling industrial development that broadens the region’s tax base and expands employment opportunities, while our cleanup at Y-12 and ORNL allows for the advancement of DOE’s national security and science missions,” said Ken Rueter, President and CEO of UCOR, an Amentum-led partnership with Jacobs. “Our work also provides opportunities for career development and competitive wages that flow through our region, making a difference in the lives of our 2,000+ member workforce from diverse surrounding counties – including underserved communities.”

“The thousands of patriots who work at Y-12 are the ones who make fulfilling our national security mission possible. The site is transforming today in many exciting and important ways so that we’ll be able to continue to adapt to changing needs and deliver whatever our nation requires of us for decades into the future,” said Bill Tindal, Chief Operating Officer at Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC. “Together with our mission partners in Oak Ridge and across East Tennessee, we are making the nation safer and more secure.”

Research on DOE’s economic impact in the state of Tennessee in FY2020 was conducted by ETEC and the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

View the Reports

Fiscal Year 2020 Report:
Economic Impact Tennessee
Fiscal Year 2017 Report:
Fiscal Year 2013 Report:
Fiscal Year 1999 Report:
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