New Study: Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Generates Nearly $16 Billion Annually for Twin Cities Area Economy

Sep 29, 2017

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) supports 86,900 jobs, creates $2.5 billion in annual spending by visitors to the area and generates $15.9 billion in total economic output annually according to an economic impact study just completed by InterVISTAS Consulting, Inc.

“MSP International Airport does more than get people and cargo from point to point. It serves as a powerful catalyst for the area economy,” said Brian Ryks, executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), owner and operator of the airport. “We tend to take air service for granted in a city with a thriving major airport, but the value of that service to our economy underscores the need to continue investing in airport infrastructure and partnering with airlines to initiate or expand service.”

The study used 2016 data to measure the direct, indirect and induced economic impacts of MSP as well as visitor spending impacts on the seven-county Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan economy. Direct impacts are those closely associated with MSP and its operations. Indirect impacts are attributable to firms that supply goods and services to entities directly involved in the airport and its operations. Induced impacts stem from spending for goods and services by employees with jobs directly or indirectly tied to the airport. Visitor spending is a measure of money spent in the metro economy by visitors who arrive in the area via MSP International Airport.

Following is a summary of impacts by category.


MSP supports 86,900 jobs, 21,200 of which are directly tied to operation of the airport. 53 percent of those direct jobs (11,200) are held by residents of Hennepin County, 25 percent (5,300) by residents of Ramsey County and 10 percent (2,000) by residents of Dakota County, with the remaining 12 percent (2,700) living in other Minnesota counties or out of state. Of the 21,200 direct jobs, 96 percent are permanent and 85 percent are full time. People with jobs directly tied to MSP earn an average of $67,900 per full-time equivalent position (FTE), compared to the Minnesota average wage of $51,330 per FTE. Earnings for all jobs (direct, indirect, induced, onsite, visitor spending and capital spending) totaled $3.7 billion in 2016.

Airport Construction

Like other major airports, MSP requires continuous investment in infrastructure maintenance and improvements. Between 2007 and 2017, the MAC will have invested some $1.6 billion in capital improvements – investments that create jobs in design, construction and related industries. Private companies, such as concessionaires, airlines and hoteliers, likewise invest in airport capital improvements. In 2016 alone, capital improvements at MSP supported 1,500 jobs, generating $80 million in wages and $240 million in total economic output.


In 2016, 5.2 million visitors to the Twin Cities (4.6 million domestic and 500,000 international) arrived via MSP. Those visitors spent a total of $2.5 billion in the area, with 41 percent of that going for lodging, 28 percent for food and beverage, 14 percent for transportation, 12 percent for gifts and souvenirs, 3 percent for entertainment and 2 percent for other items. Visitor spending directly produced 30,900 jobs.

Tax Revenues

In 2016, total tax contributions related to direct activities at MSP approached $1 billion ($973 million). The federal government received 44 percent of those tax revenues ($427 million), while state and local governments received 56 percent ($546 million). These tax contributions help support a wide variety of federal, state and local governmental programs and services.

To view the full 2016 MSP Economic Impact Study, visit this website.