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Social Security Generates $30.4 Billion in Economic Activity, Supports 190,000 Jobs in Massachusetts

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Brooks Ball, Carol
AARP Study Quantifies Social Security Benefits’ Critical Contributions to National, State Economies

A new study from the AARP Public Policy Institute calculates that each dollar paid to Social Security beneficiaries in Massachusetts generates nearly two dollars in spending by individuals and businesses, adding about $30.4 billion in total economic output to the Bay State economy – and about $1.4 trillion to the national economy – in 2012. The report also finds the $16.4 billion paid in Social Security benefits in 2012 helped Bay State keep or find more than 190,000 jobs.

Social Security’s Impact on the National Economy details the powerful multiplier effect created when Social Security recipients spend their benefits and the companies which receive those dollars spend their profits and pay their employees, who in turn spend their wages. The report provides both national and state-level data.

AARP Massachusetts staff and volunteers will be visiting the district offices of the commonwealth’s Members of Congress this week to deliver the report, along with petitions representing 49,734 Bay State residents who are concerned about proposals to cut Social Security benefits by adopting the chained CPI in any budget or deficit reduction deal.

“This report tells us that any adjustments Washington makes to Social Security will have a profound effect on individuals of all ages, businesses and our economy as a whole,” said Michael Festa, state director, AARP Massachusetts. “That’s why AARP is fighting the chained CPI and calling for a national conversation about the future of Social Security – so those who paid into the system can have a voice in the debate and so future generations get the benefits they’ve earned.”

Social Security benefit payments in 2012 supported more than $370 billion in salaries, wages and compensation for workers across the country. Of the more than nine million jobs supported by Social Security spending, about four million were in just ten industries. Nationally, the largest employment impacts were seen in the food services, real estate, health care and retail industries.

In addition to illustrating Social Security’s vital role in supporting national and local economies, jobs and workers’ incomes, this report reiterates the importance of Social Security as a vital source of income for millions of Americans. Social Security benefits keep 22 million people out of poverty, including more than 15 million older Americans, and serve as the foundation of a secure retirement for millions more. One million Massachusetts residents receive Social Security benefits.

Social Security’s Impact on the National Economy uses an economic modeling system known as IMPLAN to calculate the multiplier effect and trace the impact of Social Security spending through the national and state economies. View the full Social Security's Impact on the National Economy report and details on methodology.

View the MA State Report.

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