Newly released economic data on the national and state levels show outdoor recreation is a powerful driver of national and local economies, and it is growing faster than the U.S. economy as a whole. This is the second consecutive year that the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has released formal, national-level data, a notable milestone for the industry now identified as a unique sector of the economy. For the first time, BEA also released preliminary data on the outdoor recreation economy at the state level for all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Having a rich set of both state and national data on outdoor recreation to draw upon will inform decision-making by businesses, policymakers and managers of public lands and waters.
Highlights from BEA’s new report on the outdoor recreation economy:
•Outdoor recreation accounts for 2.2 percent of U.S. GDP, generating $778 billion in gross economic output and supporting 5.2 million American jobs.
•In terms of gross economic output, boating/fishing, RVing, motorcycling/ATVing, hunting/shooting/trapping, and equestrian sports are the five largest conventional outdoor recreation activities.
•Outdoor recreation’s share of GDP is larger than a host of traditionally recognized industries, including mining, utilities, farming and ranching, and chemical products manufacturing.
•The top five states where outdoor recreation accounts for the largest percentage of each states’ total GDP are Hawaii, Montana, Maine, Vermont, and Wyoming.
•The top five states where outdoor recreation accounts for the largest percentage of total U.S. GDP are California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas.