Study: U.S. Buildings Operations Contribute $227.6 Billion to GDP; Support 1.8 Million Jobs

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International announces the release of Where America Goes to Work: The Contribution of Office Building Operations to the Economy, 2014, which details the impact of commercial office space on the national and local economies. The report, first published in 2009, shows that the short- and long-term expenditures that sustain office building operations—management, maintenance, repairs, building services and utilities—generate significant, continuous and growing expenditures that support local businesses, create job demand and contribute significantly to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).
The new study finds that the 10.4 billion square feet of commercial office space located within the markets served by BOMA International’s local associations generated $82.4 billion in direct operating expenditures in 2013 to the benefit of workers and businesses within their host jurisdictions.
“While the construction of new office buildings is often noted as providing important economic benefits, once this construction is completed and these new buildings are occupied, the economic benefits of their operations continue for the life of the building,” explained the author of the report, Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D., Dwight Schar faculty chair and university professor and the director of Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University. “Beyond a continuing source of jobs and income related to these buildings’ operations, the buildings themselves house much of today’s modern economy; that is, the professional and business service workers who represent the largest share of the nation’s GDP. The nation’s office building inventory is, in fact, where the work of the national economy is being done.”
Other significant findings detailed in the study include:
For every dollar spent on office building operations, the national economy gained $2.76, with the result that $82.4 billion in annual operating expenditures contributed a total of $227.6 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013—roughly twice the annual contribution made by pharmaceutical or automotive-industry research and development annually;
For each dollar spent on office building operations, workers in the U.S. realized an increase of $0.87 in personal earnings, generating a total of $71.7 billion in new earnings for workers residing within these office market areas and respective state economies in 2013;
$82.4 billion in annual operating expenditures supported more than 1.8 million direct, indirect and induced jobs across all sectors of the national economy, with 31.8 percent of these jobs being directly related to the operations of office space;
The 10.4 billion square feet of commercial and government-owned office space located in the markets served by BOMA’s local associations provided workspace for an estimated 46.6 million office jobs—a number larger than the population of California.
“This study demonstrates the critical role that the commercial real estate industry plays in driving our country’s economic engine,” added BOMA International Chair John G. Oliver, BOMA Fellow, managing principal for Oliver & Company. “Beyond contributions to the national GDP, the influence of office building operations can be felt at the local level through new jobs, increased personal income and boosts to local economies.”
The analysis included all office buildings, inclusive of tenant-occupied buildings, buildings owned by their occupants and government-owned office buildings. The report also delves into the economic impact of office building operations in the markets served by each of BOMA International’s local associations.
Download the report at
About BOMA International
The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is a federation of 91 BOMA U.S. associations and 17 international affiliates. Founded in 1907, BOMA represents the owners and managers of all commercial property types including 10.4 billion square feet of U.S. office space that supports 1.8 million jobs and contributes $227.6 billion to the U.S. GDP. Its mission is to advance a vibrant commercial real estate industry through advocacy, influence and knowledge. Learn more at