Department of Commerce Releases Economic Data for Outdoor Recreation

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has released economic data for 2021 exhibiting outdoor recreation’s powerful and positive economic impact on the U.S. economy. These new numbers show outdoor recreation generates $862 billion in economic output and 4.5 million jobs. This means the outdoor recreation economy contributes more to the U.S. economy than oil and gas extraction, mining, and agriculture. The report includes national and state level data.

This is the fifth consecutive year that BEA has released government data on this critical industry sector. This release shows how the outdoor industry, which played a vital economic and social role throughout the pandemic, has since sustained remarkable growth, and continued to bolster local economies. The outdoor recreation economy came back stronger than ever after the COVID-19 pandemic and remains a steady source of strength nationally and a booming job creator locally.

Key highlights from the 2021 data on the outdoor recreation economy:

  • $862 billion in economic output;
  • 1.9% of GDP;
  • 4.5 million jobs;
  • Trips and travel coming back, record sales in many outdoor segments, manufacturing increasing, as well as the drive to continue to recreate for quality of life allowed our industry to bounce back from the effects of COVID-19 in 2020.

America’s outdoor recreation community, represented by Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, continues to support the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) – the project compiling and releasing this data. Just like is the case for many other industries, the goal is to provide annual data on the economic importance of national and regional outdoor recreation economies that can be tracked for years to come. To learn more about ORR and outdoor recreation’s contributions to the economy, click here.

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