Report: Fairfax County Public Schools Critical to County Economy

News Release
September 28, 2016

A report prepared by the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University concludes that Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), as the largest employer within Fairfax County, contributes $2.2 billion to the Fairfax County economy and is one of the most important sources of local economic activity. 

The report’s author, Dr. Stephen S. Fuller, found that FCPS accounts for 4.1 percent of the countywide employment base and its budgeted FY 2017 (2016-17 school year) spending accounts for 2.0 percent of county’s gross county product, making FCPS the second largest source of economic activity in the county following the federal government.

“Dr. Fuller’s report clearly shows how FCPS is a major contributor to the Fairfax County economy and plays an important role in our community’s quality of life, sustainability, and future growth,” says FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza.  “Our primary mission remains ensuring all of our students succeed in the classroom and beyond.  This report demonstrates that in fulfilling our mission, FCPS provides a significant economic benefit to the community.  Funding from our community provided to FCPS by our local and state partners has a positive impact that goes well beyond our classrooms.”

FCPS’ budgeted FY 2017 outlays total $3 billion: $178.8 million for capital projects and $2.8 billion for operations including payroll.  These outlays are the source of important economic benefits that support a broad base of local businesses and generate additional jobs and income to the benefit of Fairfax County residents.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • Sixty-seven percent of FCPS’ payroll outlays, or $1.15 billion, are made to employees residing within Fairfax County and 51.5 percent of all contractor payments are made to vendors located in or conducting their work in Fairfax County.
  • FCPS will spend $1.85 billion in Fairfax County during FY 2017, 62 percent of its total budget.
  • FCPS’ outlays within the Fairfax County economy will support an additional 13,271 full-time, year-round equivalent jobs spanning a broad-base of businesses of which an estimated 57.2 percent or 7,587 would be located in the county and generate $417.3 million in new personal earnings to the benefit of workers residing in Fairfax County.
  • FCPS’ annual outlays in Fairfax County will support directly and indirectly almost 35,000 jobs in Fairfax County, accounting for 5.3 percent of the county’s total jobs for residents and non-residents in 2016 with a combined payroll (personal earnings) totaling $1.6 billion to be recycled and re-spent in support of the local economy.
  • FCPS is the largest employer in Fairfax County with over 27,000 full- and part-time employees.


The report concludes that FCPS’ economic impacts are far more broadly distributed across Fairfax County’s economy than are the economic impacts generated by federal government employment and procurement spending.  FCPS’ economic benefits are realized by a wide cross section of local-serving business establishments patronized by the more than 18,000 FCPS employees living in Fairfax County and the additional 7,587 other local jobholders whose employment depends indirectly on or is induced by the outlays of FCPS in Fairfax County. Additionally, FCPS’ contractor outlays support a wide range of locally based businesses that provide the goods and services needed to operate and maintain the county’s public schools and FCPS’ capacity to educate the county’s workforce of the future.

The entire report is available online.


For more information, contact the FCPS Office of Communication and Community Relations at 571-423-1200.