How Does Facebook’s Data Center in Forest City, N.C., Impact the Local Economy?

Facebook teamed up with Boston Consulting Group to release a study in June on how its data center in Luleå, Sweden, is impacting the local economy, and the social network undertook a similar venture with RTI International to measure the economic effects of its data center in Forest City, N.C.

ForestCityDataCenter650Facebook teamed up with Boston Consulting Group to release a study in June on how its data center in Luleå, Sweden, is impacting the local economy, and the social network undertook a similar venture with RTI International to measure the economic effects of its data center in Forest City, N.C.

According to the study by RTI and Facebook, which examined the facility’s impact from 2011 through 2013:

  • 4,700 jobs were added in the state of North Carolina.
  • The Forest City data center generated $526 million in capital spending statewide, leading to $680 million in economic output.
  • The facility was responsible for $17 million in operational expenditures, generating $27 million in economic output and supporting approximately 310 jobs statewide.
  • For every $1 million of output resulting directly from direct operating expenditures at the data center, another $600,000 in output was generated elsewhere in the state.
  • Facebook’s 2013 operations in North Carolina and the economic activity they generated are associated with more than $1 million in state and local taxes.
  • In total, from 2011 through 2013, the Forest City data center generated a total gross economic impact of $707 million and supported 5,000 jobs across North Carolina.

Site manager Keven McCammon wrote in a note on the Forest City Data Center page:

At Facebook, we believe in making connections near and far, and that includes investing in the places where we live and work. Since we broke ground in 2010, our Forest City data center has grown into a multi-building campus that is part of the fabric that powers Facebook. None of this would have been possible without the support of Forest City and the surrounding Rutherford County region, and we are proud to have contributed to the community’s economic progress these last few years.

In addition to construction activity, full-time employment and indirect spending effects, we have expanded our community outreach through several initiatives. Since 2011, we have awarded approximately $450,000 to Rutherford County schools and qualified nonprofits through our community-action grants program. We’ve also collaborated with Isothermal Community College to develop the curriculum for its Data Center Institute and prepare students for jobs related to data-center technologies. Earlier this summer, we announced a partnership with the town of Forest City, Rutherford County Schools and PANGAEA Internet on a pilot program to provide free Wi-Fi access to 75 to 100 students in the local school district.

Readers: What are your thoughts on the local economic impact of Facebook’s data center in Forest City, N.C.?