The Economic Impact of the Horse Industry

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THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE HORSE INDUSTRY

by
MARIA A. CERASI

submitted to
Mr. Henry Ryder

PRINCIPLES OF ECONOMICS II

GLOUCESTER COUNTY COLLEGE

APRIL 2012

People often view the equine industry as nothing more than simply an expensive hobby. However, in actuality it is far more than just that. The horse industry has an enormous impact on the United States economy and covers a vast horizon of different areas. From top-notch Thoroughbred racing to the simplicity of a backyard companion horse, the industry provides about 460,000 full-time equivalent jobs and has a direct economic effect on the United States of about 39 billion dollars annually. After taking into account the money multiplier effect of spending by suppliers and employees in the industry, this number grows even larger to create about 1.4 million full-time equivalent jobs nationally with a 102 billion dollar annual impact on the United States economy (“National Economic Impact”).

Studies show that the equine industry has a direct effect on gross domestic product (GDP) in the United States. Between the different areas of the horse business, including but not limited to racing, showing, and leisurely riding, about 38.8 billion dollars of goods and services are produced, leaving an impact of 101.5 billion dollars on US GDP. Taxes paid by the equine industry also affect the economy in the United States, with approximately 1.9 billion dollars total in taxes coming from this industry. Federal taxes amount to 588 million dollars, state taxes are 1,017 million dollars, and last but not least, local taxes are equal to 275 million dollars (“National Economic Impact”).

Many studies have been done in different states to determine the economic impact of the horse industry, including a study from the Rutgers Equine Science Center (“New Jersey Equine”), a study from Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities (McCall, Molnar, Pendergrass, and Broadway), and a study conducted by the University of Virginia Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service (“Virginia Horse Industry”). The state of Arizona even went as far as to hold an event regarding the equine economic impact. The event, titled “the Economic Impact of the Equine Industry in Arizona”, was held in February of 2012 and government officials from all over the country attended. The Arizona horse industry amounts to a 1.8 billion dollar industry and provides the opportunity to bring in many new equine-related companies into the state. There were many different topics covered at the event, including the WestWorld Equidome expansion project and ways to carry more rodeo locations into the state. There was also discussion of an equine property tax bill that was recently passed by the state. The bill relieves equine businesses from extreme property taxes by categorizing them under agricultural businesses. The great impact of the Quarter Horse, Arabian, and Thoroughbred associations was also discussed at the event, determining that their effects on the US economy are approximately 4.5 million dollars, 52 million dollars, and 134 million dollars respectively (“Arizona State Officials”).

Other states have also taken measures and actions to determine the effect of the equine industry on each state. Rutgers University conducted a study in 2007 determining the economic effect of horses in the state of New Jersey. They determined that the industry had a total economic impact of 1.1 billion dollars each year, taking into account racing-related operations not including racetracks, non-racing operations, equine owners without operations, and New Jersey racetracks. The industry creates 13,000 jobs in the US, between jobs generated by racetracks and jobs not generated by racetracks. About 160 million dollars is paid annual in taxes by the New Jersey equine industry (“New Jersey Equine” 1)....
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