January 24, 2017
Seabrook Island Residents
Last fall, the Town of Seabrook Island engaged five MBA students from the Citadel Graduate School to conduct an economic impact study for the town. Two professors at the Citadel oversaw the progress of the graduate team during the semester long course. The study was performed without charge as part of the course curriculum. The purpose of the project was to update an earlier study conducted in 1996 and to provide detail on the economic value that Seabrook Island provides to the city and county of Charleston.
While the study provides some valuable information which we can, and will use, the results must be taken subject to a number of provisos.
Firstly, the study was completed in a very short time frame. The project, originally intended to be performed over a three month period was truncated by Hurricane Matthew and its aftermath.
Secondly, the study utilizes both hard and soft numbers. The census and tax data was obtained from government sources and are reliable, as are the 2015 real estate sales and construction data. The “on island” sales and “off island” spending and contribution numbers are more subjective and imprecise. These numbers were extrapolated from survey data, and therefore are based on a number of assumptions.
Thirdly, the study is subject to a number of limitations, such as the lack of adequate survey responses from visitors. These limitations would have been qualified by a longer study. The financial data obtained was factored by both output and employment multipliers. Output multipliers, used to estimate financial impact, show the direct and indirect reiterative effect of the dollars spent by
Seabrook Island residents as that money becomes income to the individuals and firms to whom it is paid and who in turn spend a portion of the income received on goods and services and so forth as the process continues. Employment multipliers, used to estimate employment impact, are used to calculate the number of direct, indirect or induced jobs created. Direct jobs are those created on Seabrook Island, indirect jobs and those that support those jobs (e.g., suppliers, equipment vendors etc). Induced jobs are those that are a result of the direct / indirect jobs spending money in the community. Both multipliers – which we were told were industry standard – were taken from an earlier economic impact study
commissioned by Kiawah Island in 2003.
The calculated 2015 economic impact ($338,603,328.00) and total number of direct, indirect and induced jobs (4,831) are clearly significant. However, as you read through the study, recognize that these are order of magnitude number derived from the best efforts of the study team, and we will treat them as such.
Ronald J. Ciancio
To read the complete study, visit The Town of Seabrook Island website or click on this link (Note: Page 13 of the survey summarizes these results):