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Busy bureau eyes frantic fall

The College’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) is headed for a hectic fall after an eventful summer.

In May, WVU President James Clements issued the Bureau’s study showing that direct expenditures from West Virginia University and its affiliated institutions led to a total economic impact of approximately $8.3 billion in business volume in West Virginia.

This study also showed that WVU and its affiliated organizations directly employed 22,500 faculty and staff and had a total employment impact of 45,500 jobs in the state for fiscal year 2009.

State appropriations to West Virginia University totaled $206.4 million in fiscal year 2009, which means every dollar the Legislature appropriated to WVU turned into $40 in the state economy, according to the study. The study was authored by Amy Higginbotham, economist, Dr. Christiadi, demographer, Eric Pennington, graduate research assistant and Dr. Tom S. Witt, Bureau director and associate dean for research and outreach.

As the 2010 census geared up, Dr. Christiadi was busy with population updates. In 2008, Gov. Joe Manchin designated the Bureau as the state’s partner for population estimates with the federal Census Bureau, and this summer Christiadi reported dorm population counts, birth and death rates for the state, and counts of juveniles and incarcerated individuals. Population estimates are an important component used as the basis to distribute billions of dollars in federal funding as they help determine regions' eligibility for many social programs.

He also assisted in reconciling the Census database of state housing units with local information on new housing units.

In May, Dr. Randy Childs, Bureau research assistant professor, published a policy brief on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s effects on West Virginia. Dr. Tami Gurley-Calvez, Bureau research assistant professor, along with Higginbothan and Witt, are participating in Gov. Manchin’s Tax Modernization Project.

In October, the Bureau will be host to the 64th Annual Association for University Business and Economic Research (AUBER) Conference, which will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Charleston. Dr. John Silva, chief economist with Wells Fargo, will speak to the group on the nation’s economic outlook and other speakers will address regional economic research. AUBER, established in 1947, is the professional association of business and economic research organizations in public and private universities.

This fall the Bureau has scheduled economic outlook conferences in Martinsburg on October 26, Berkeley Springs on October 27 and Charleston on November 10. Dr. George Hammond, Bureau associate director and associate professor of economics, will present his regional and state economic outlooks at these meetings along with presentations from other speakers on the emerging U.S. economic outlook.