ORR Welcomes Final Release of First-Ever Government Statistics on Industry's Contribution to U.S. Economy
Report Formally Recognizes Outdoor Recreation Among Nation’s Largest Sectors
Washington, D.C. (September 20, 2018) – The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) today welcomed the final report on the first-ever government statistics recognizing the outdoor recreation industry as a significant contributor to the U.S. economy.
The report, federally funded by the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce, was released today by Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The new measurement is called the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA). It finds that the outdoor recreation industry had a U.S. GDP contribution of 2.2 percent and annual gross economic output of $734 billion in 2016 (the last available year of data). This economic contribution level is greater than other key economic sectors, including the mining, utilities and chemical products manufacturing industries. In addition, with 4.5 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.
Today’s release was the final, revised report, following prototype
statistics released in February. The updated report reflects expert
comments and feedback solicited by BEA and submitted by a wide range of
organizations in the outdoor recreation economy.
The release of the data is a significant milestone for the outdoor
recreation industry, which has long called for its sector to be formally
included in government economic analysis. To mark the announcement, ORR
held a Capitol Hill briefing today with key federal officials,
including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Bureau of Economic Analysis
Director Brian Moyer, Department of Interior Senior Advisor Rick May,
and a video message from Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT).
“Today’s report provides official government recognition of the
outdoor recreation industry as a powerful force in the American
economy,” said Thom Dammrich, ORR chair and president of the National
Marine Manufacturers Association. “As one of the nation’s largest
economic sectors, it is critical that our national leaders do everything
they can to keep the economic engine running at full speed. That
includes common sense policies to expand public access, modernize
infrastructure and remove barriers to efficient and effective
public-private partnerships. We thank the teams at the Bureau of
Economic Analysis and the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account for their
tireless work in making today’s report possible.”
The BEA’s analysis also found outdoor recreation to have a strong
wage growth rate of 4.3 percent between 2015-2016, which surpasses the
overall U.S. wage growth of 2.7 percent during the same period.
“The outdoor recreation industry contribution to our nation’s GDP has
more than pulled its weight, and we’ve been a major engine behind the
recent economic growth rate.” said Frank Hugelmeyer, ORR vice chair and
president of the RV Industry Association. “Due to its importance to the
overall economy and especially rural communities, outdoor recreation
deserves to be a priority at national and state levels. ORR looks
forward to working collaboratively with leaders to implement
growth-oriented policies that will ensure our industry remains a strong
GDP contributor and jobs generator for years to come.”
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.