Outdoor Recreation Has Larger Economic Impact Than Farming

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has released economic data on the impact of the outdoor industry to the U.S. economy. The analysis followed passage of the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2016 that required BEA to enter a joint memorandum with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior to assess and analyze the outdoor recreation economy.

The findings indicated that outdoor recreation represented 2.2 percent of the overall U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at $412 billion and accounted for 4.5 million jobs. This number is more than the GDP of farming, mining or public utilities.

Boating/Fishing was the largest core outdoor recreation activity in 2016, accounting for $36.9 billion of real gross output. Outdoor recreation activities fall into three general categories: conventional core activities such as boating, hunting and bicycling; other core activities like gardening and outdoor concerts; and supporting activities including construction and travel and tourism. In 2016, conventional outdoor recreation accounted for 32.7 percent of real outdoor recreation gross output, other recreation accounted for 19.3 percent, and supporting activities accounted for the remaining 47.9 percent.

Further, in 2016, the outdoor recreation economy grew faster than the overall U.S. economy, including real gross output, compensation and employment.

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The BEA report can be found at https://www.bea.gov/data/special-topics/outdoor-recreation