• Alexa Boschini

Study finds High Point Market worth $5.4 billion to region

The high point market contributes $5.4 billion in economic impact to the overall regional economy, more than 37,000 jobs and $198 million in North Carolina local and state taxes and fees, according to a Duke University study.
     The High Point Market Authority engaged the Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness at Duke University to conduct a comprehensive study on the economic and fiscal impact of the market.
     The study was the focus of a market press breakfast, moderated by Jackie Hirschhaut, AHFA vice president of public relations and marketing. Lukas Brun, senior research analyst at Duke CGGC and project manager for the High Point Market study, and T. William Lester, assistant professor at UNC-Chapel Hill's department of city and regional planning, presented the data. Doug Bassett, chairman of the High Point Market Authority and president of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture, and North Carolina Rep. John Faircloth discussed the impact of the study.
     "We needed to convince our local leaders and leaders in Raleigh that the market is a good investment," Basset said.
     According to the report, the market's $5.4 billion output is equivalent to about 1.3% of the total gross state product of North Carolina.
     "This analysis focuses on the impact of all the economic activity generated through the Market itself," Brun said in a press release announcing the results of the study. "The logic used was the following, ‘what amount of economic activity would not have occurred ‘but-for' the market.' The report analyzes the economic impact of five distinct categories that can be tied to the biannual High Point Market events."
     The study defines the study area as the 30 counties (22 in North Carolina and eight in Virginia) within a 75-mile radius from downtown High Point. It used the data from an original survey pulled from 199 exhibitors at market over the period July 3-16, 2013.
     "Our interest in the High Point Market is about how it relates to the economic competitiveness of North Carolina," Brun said. "Our goal was to identify the impact of the market. We supplemented the quantitative analysis with a survey of people who have exhibited at the market."
     Lester said that qualitative component differentiates this report from previous studies about the market. "We used a web-based survey and actually surveyed people directly on how much they actually spend on these activities."
     The study found that the market is responsible for the creation of 37,616 jobs. Economic activity associated with the biannual market resulted in 11,000 jobs, in support areas such as food service/catering, lodging, maintenance/repair construction services and transit and ground passenger transportation. Twenty-six thousand jobs come from the furniture sales generated at market that flow to workers within the 30 county area in manufacturing positions such as upholstered household furniture, nonupholstered wood household furniture, showcase/partition/shelving, and mattress production, to name only the top categories.
     The fiscal impact of the High Point Market on the state of North Carolina and the 22 affected counties is $197.9 million in tax revenue.
     The study also provided data on visitor numbers to the High Point Market. Seventy-six thousand attendees come to market biannually, and 623,000 visitor-days per year are generated by the 58,000 visitors coming to the market in High Point, biannually, from outside the 75-mile radius.
     During the press breakfast presentation, Bassett said the market's return on investment for the state is 66 to 1.
     "I only wish I had this (data) last year," Faircloth said. "This study is going to be very valuable to me and the rest of my delegation in encouraging the state that the market benefits the entire state."

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