The report, federally funded by the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce, was released today by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The new measurement is called the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA). It notes that the outdoor recreation industry has a U.S. GDP contribution of 2.2 percent and an annual gross economic output of $731 billion.
This economic contribution level is greater than other key economic sectors, including the mining, utilities and chemical products manufacturing industries. In addition, with 4.55 million jobs, the outdoor recreation sector generates similar employment as other major job creators in the United States, including hospitals, transportation and warehousing and educational services.
Of special note is that recreational fishing and boating contributes $38.2 billion to the annual economy–the largest of the core outdoor recreation activities.
“Today’s final BEA report confirms that outdoor recreation, and recreational fishing and boating in particular, are essential to our economy,” said ASA President Glenn Hughes. “Our nation’s leaders already recognize outdoor recreation’s economic value, and these numbers just help corroborate that. It’s essential that they do everything they can to keep our economy moving forward by expanding access to public lands, modernizing infrastructure and fostering public-private partnerships.”
To mark the announcement, ORR leaders organized a Capitol Hill briefing today with key federal officials, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Bureau of Economic Analysis Director Brian Moyer and a video message from Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.).
The BEA’s analysis also found outdoor recreation to have one of the nation’s strongest wage growth rates at 4.3 percent. This rate surpasses the overall U.S. wage growth of 2.8 percent during the same period of 2015-2016.
ORR strongly supports continuing and expanding ORSA. Senate legislation funding the Department of Commerce operations for fiscal year 2019, beginning October 1, 2018, specifically includes on-going funding for ORSA and its expansion to generate state-level projections. ORR has called upon the House to follow the Senate’s lead on ORSA and thus implement the Congressional direction contained in the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2016.
The full report issued by BEA can be found here.
The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable is the nation’s premier coalition of outdoor recreation trade associations. Please visit RecreationRoundtable.org for more information on the coalition’s activities and membership.