Newly released economic data on the national and, for the first time ever, state levels reinforce what the outdoor recreation industry has long believed: outdoor recreation is a driver of national and local economies and it is growing faster than the U.S. economy as a whole.

“These new numbers show what we have always know, that outdoor recreation is an economic powerhouse to which the RV industry is a large contributor,” said RV Industry Association (RVIA) Vice President of Government Affairs Jay Landers. “The outdoor recreation economy deserves to be a national priority and we look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with leaders at the federal and state levels to implement policies that will ensure outdoor recreation continues to be a generator of American jobs for years to come.”

Highlights from BEA’s new report on the outdoor recreation economy:

  • Outdoor recreation makes up 2.2% of U.S. GDP, generating $778 billion in gross output and supporting 5.2 million jobs.
  • In terms of 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.

“Today’s release of state data is a significant step forward for the entire outdoor recreation industry,” said Executive Director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) Jessica Wahl. “This second full year of national data – together with prototype state-level numbers – proves that our industry is a driving economic force across the country. ORR will continue to work with Congress, federal agencies, state governments and others to ensure that everyone has access to our public lands and waters and that our nation’s outdoor infrastructure can sustain and grow healthy communities and healthy economies.”