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Connecting globally, making an impact locally

By Keven McCammon

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.

We recently engaged with an independent firm, RTI International, to measure the economic impact Facebook has had on Forest City and the state of North Carolina. This report includes statistics and key findings that we’d like to share:

  • From 2011-2013, the economic impacts generated by the construction of the data center include:
    • 4,700 jobs in North Carolina
    • $526 million in capital spending statewide which generated $680 million in economic output
  • In 2013, Facebook’s data center operations in Forest City (ongoing, non-construction activity) were linked to the following impacts:
    • $17 million in operational expenditures, which generated $27 million in economic output and supported approximately 310 jobs statewide
    • For every $1 million of output resulting directly from direct operating expenditures, 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 over $1 million in state and local taxes
  • In total, from 2011-2013 the data center generated a total gross economic impact of $707 million and supported 5,000 jobs across North Carolina

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 75-100 students in the local school district.

As Facebook continues its mission of connecting the world, we are proud of our role as a community partner in strengthening the Forest City region and adding to its long-term success.

An executive summary of the 2014 Facebook Forest City Economic and Fiscal Impact Report is available at: http://www.rti.org/publications/abstract.cfm?pubid=23135.