UMass Amherst reports Encore construction spending stayed local

Everett firms received $32m in contracts; diverse workforce from city

A new study presented to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) by UMass Amherst on Dec. 17 regarding the economic impacts of the construction of Encore Boston Harbor showed more than $32 million in contracts went to Everett-based firms, and 5 percent of the total workforce came from Everett – with almost 50 percent of the Everett workforce being minority construction workers.
“The release of today’s report on the economic impacts of the construction of Encore Boston Harbor is an important milestone for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and of our charge under the Expanded Gaming Act to design and execute on a robust research agenda,” said Cathy Judd-Stein, chair of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. “This research validates that both businesses and citizens of the Commonwealth were beneficiaries of this investment—in line with the goals set out by the Commonwealth with respect to casino gaming.”
Researchers from the UMass Donahue Institute as part of the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA) research study at UMass Amherst released the report last week after presenting it to the MGC, where it was very well received. The report details the economic impacts of constructing Encore Boston Harbor, and the SEIGMA study was established by the MGC. The MGC has said routinely it has established the nation’s most comprehensive research program to study, assess and prepare for the social and economic impacts of casino gambling.
Specifically, these findings detail where the construction dollars were spent (regionally and statewide), where the construction workers resided/whether it was a diverse workforce, and what the total statewide economic impacts were of constructing Encore.
Rod Motamedi, senior research manager at the UMass Donahue Institute and lead author of the report, said most of the economic benefits of the construction stayed in Metro Boston – particularly Middlesex and Suffolk Counties (the casino is right on the line of Middlesex and Suffolk Counties).
“Due to hosting Encore Boston Harbor and its role as the economic hub of the Commonwealth, Metro Boston saw most of the economic benefits of the construction of the casino,” he said. “Regardless of whether they received any contracts or were home to any workers, all counties in Massachusetts saw some benefits from construction spending and employment, which result from the economic linkages that connect all regions of the Commonwealth. We also found that the demographic characteristics of this project’s workers were representative of statewide construction workers in terms of race, gender and veteran status. Given the size of this project, this means hundreds of thousands of hours of work for people of color, women and veterans.”
Added Brian Gullbrants, president of Encore Boston Harbor, “A tremendous team effort went into the construction of Encore Boston Harbor to achieve these results. We are pleased to see that those efforts have made a significant impact on our local and state economies.”
Wynn Resorts spent $2.1 billion on Encore, and the study found approximately $1.6 billion went to construction activities. Of that, almost 75 percent – which is $1.1 billion – went to firms based in Massachusetts. Of the Massachusetts share of that money, 60 percent of the money spent remained in Middlesex or Suffolk Counties. That would account for about 40 percent of the overall construction budget.
The remaining 25 percent of the overall budget went to companies in 36 other states, with Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York accounting for most of that money. A total of $71 million went to companies outside of the United States.
Meanwhile, getting very local, Everett companies received $32 million in contracts. A total of 5 percent of the workers on the job were from Everett, and 50 percent of the workforce from Massachusetts came from Middlesex or Suffolk Counties. The diversity statistics from the job showed that it reflected the compositions from the populations they drew from, and it was stated that members of minority groups did 25 percent of the total construction work at Encore.
While the share of minority workers from Everett was 46 percent – nearly half – that was still lower than the share of the minority population in Everett. Census statistics show that 63 percent of the working-age population in Everett is Black, Hispanic, Native American or Asian. So, while the number of 46 percent in Everett was lower than the working-age population, it was noted that was still a high number of minorities to have on the job from the local community.
As far as the regional impacts on the economy, the casino did seem to produce a great deal of economic activity from salaries.
Some of the regional and statewide impacts included:
•Net new economic activity (i.e., value added or gross state product) totaled almost $1.6 billion. About 2,500 jobs were created or supported by this economic activity. These jobs accrued $1 billion of income.
•When the estimates of total economic impacts are compared to Encore Boston Harbor’s construction expenditures, the results show that every $1.55 of construction spending created about $1 of additional economic activity in Massachusetts and every in-state job created another 0.85 jobs elsewhere in the Commonwealth.

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