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Dietary Supplement Industry Contributes $122 Billion to U.S. Economy

According to a new economic impact report, the dietary supplement industry contributes US$121.6 billion to the U.S. economy, creates 754,645 jobs nationwide, and pays $38.4 billion in wages.

The dietary supplement industry contributes US$121.6 billion to the U.S. economy, creates 754,645 jobs nationwide, and pays $38.4 billion in wages, according to a new economic impact report. Additionally, the industry contributes nearly $15 billion in business taxes—federal and state, the report found.

The economic impact report was produced by John Dunham and Associates for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). The results are accessible on a public website.

According to Steve Mister, president and CEO of CRN, the research was conducted to provide industry with data to reference “when we talk about the effect the industry has on local economy.

“What we wanted to do was really talk about how the manufacturing and the distribution and the retail, and all of those pieces of the industry—how they have an effect on local community," Mister said in a phone interview. “So we needed to go back to the drawing board and create a new research model to do that."

The data was released today, in conjunction with CRN’s annual “fly-in" on Capitol Hill. According to Mister, more than 60 dietary supplement industry executives from 40 companies will be talking with elected officials today, and will be able to share this information.

Beyond today’s efforts on Capitol Hill, creating a website with the data allows members of industry to access and use the information. “They’ll be able to go to the website, access [the data] and then remind members of Congress what we contribute in the way of jobs and wages and tax base, just to drive home how important this industry is to the economy of local communities," Mister said, adding that the website may also be a resource for media or elected officials.

The website provides data on a national basis, as well as state-by-state and by congressional district. For example, in California, industry contributes more than $23 billion to the economy and supplies more than 50,000 direct jobs, while New York contributes more than $16 billion and supplies more than 31,000 jobs, the report found.

These statistics are based on the total overall economic impact from the industry, which combines direct contributions (those that are solely attributable to the dietary supplement industry), indirect contributions (those that result from dietary supplement industry firms purchasing goods and services from other industries) and induced effects (which economists refer to as the multiplier effect—described as increases throughout many economic activities due to the increase of one economic activity—in this case, the dietary supplement industry). The website reports break out all three categories in addition to providing the total economic impact.

“We’re able to break out the direct impact, and then the indirect with all of the suppliers and vendors who service the industry, and then the larger piece, which is the induced impact," Mister said. “I think when you start to look at those numbers, it’s a very compelling argument to elected officials that dietary supplements really do positively affect local economies."

It’s possible the data will resonate with legislators looking to restrict access to dietary supplements. Referring to industry’s contribution to the tax base, Mister said, “Often times, we hear legislators and regulators talking about the need for more restrictions on products, they’re proposing things that would stifle access to dietary supplements and stifle innovation in the industry, and yet when you look at the amount of money that the industry is contributing back to the state and local government to support their operations, you wonder why would a legislator want to kill the goose that’s laying the golden egg?"

Currently, the data does not include taxes collected on product sales. However, Mister said CRN will add that data in coming months.

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