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Economic report shows INL generates over $3 billion to Idaho economy

Idaho National Laboratory continues to be a major impact for economic activity, contributing more than $3 billion to the state’s gross economic impact. (File photo)

Economic report shows INL generates over $3 billion to Idaho economy

Idaho National Laboratory’s latest economic impact summary report shows the lab’s large economic impact to Idaho continues to grow.

The lab on Thursday released its Fiscal Year 2021 Economic Impact Summary. The report shows the laboratory is the state’s sixth-largest employer, adding $3.08 billion to the state’s gross economic output and creating 15,200 jobs for Idahoans.

“INL is growing because our world-class staff continues to achieve impactful results for our nation,” said INL Director John Wagner in a news release. “Our mission work improves lives and makes our nation safer and more secure. All of us at INL are grateful for the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the local, regional and state economies.”

The annual economic impact summary showcases how the lab contributes to Idaho’s economy. According to the summary, INL’s total impact grew by more than $200 million — a 7% increase — between FY-2020 and FY-2021. The lab’s impacts also resulted in an estimated $120 million in state and local tax revenues.

“We are proud that INL makes such a tremendous economic impact throughout Idaho, and we look forward to exploring how we can continue to support communities throughout the state,” said INL senior adviser for economic development Marsha McDaniel in the release.

In 2016, INL’s economic impact was approximately $1.9 billion, according to previous Post Register reports.

Teresa McKnight, CEO of the Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho, said she believes the lab has been able to accelerate its economic impact since then by partnering with many outside partners and local businesses to develop nuclear technology.

Batelle Energy Alliance, which manages INL for the U.S. Department of Energy, spent $203 million with Idaho businesses in fiscal year 2021, according to the economic summary. Additionally, Battelle Energy Alliance contributed $627,200 in charitable giving, technology-based economic development grants and K-12 STEM giving.

“That is a powerful message because first and foremost, they support Idaho businesses. That’s pretty phenomenal especially for a small business,” McKnight said.

INL averaged 5,282 employees during the fiscal year and estimates nearly 10,000 more jobs were created or sustained by industries supporting lab operations and INL employee spending, the summary said. The lab estimates INL employees’ spending creates an additional $772 million to Idaho’s economy. For every $100 in direct economic activity at INL, an additional $96 of activity is created or sustained.

McKnight said the economic multipliers are an indication of the true value of an organization such as INL and something she focuses on as an economic development professional.

“INL is a big contributor to the economic impact region,” McKnight said. “We talk about that economic multiplier and it’s not dollar for dollar. It’s two to three dollars per dollar.”

The FY-2021 Economic Impact Summary is available online on INL’s website, The economic impacts identified in the study include INL operations managed by Battelle Energy Alliance and not the impact of other Department of Energy contractors, the energy department itself or the Naval Reactors Facility.

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