Facebook-commissioned study says Oregon data center is good for the economy

Facebook is claiming that its Prineville, Ore., data center, opened in April 2010, is boosting the local economy in that region of central Oregon, which includes Crook County.

Based on a Facebook-commissioned study by the economic consulting firm ECONorthwest, which focusses on the Pacific Northwest area, Facebook said in a blog post that the data center’s construction activities over the past five years have led to 651 jobs in Central Oregon and $573 million in statewide capital spending.

As far as non-construction activities are concerned, the facility contributed to 207 jobs in Central Oregon in 2013 alone.

According to a Facebook spokesperson, of the 100 people currently employed full-time at the facility, approximately 85 percent are based in Prineville and Crook County.

Back in 2012, Gigaom’s Katie Fehrenbacher got a chance to visit the Oregon facility, which is one of the most energy efficient in the world.

While it is nice to see that the data center is creating a bump in the local economy, it should be noted that these sorts of facilities don’t necessarily create the thousands of jobs one would see at an auto-manufacturing plant. After the construction phase of a plant is over, it’s typical that there are only a few dozen full-time jobs available that are tailored for skilled engineers rather than local residents without backgrounds in technology.