The Outdoor Recreation Economy

This morning, the Outdoor Industry Association released its latest Outdoor Recreation Economy Report in connection with its annual Capitol Summit in Washington D.C., and the numbers are HUGE:  The report estimates that the outdoor recreation economy generates $887 billion in annual consumer spending, $65.3 billion in federal tax revenue and an additional $59.2 billion in state and local tax revenue each year.  In job creation alone, outdoor recreation is responsible for 7.6 million American jobs, exceeding computer technology (6.7 million), construction (6.4 million), and finance and insurance (6 million).  More jobs depend on recreational motorcycling and off-roading (867,000) than there are lawyers in the United States (779,000)!  Most would say that’s a good thing . . .

According to Amy Roberts, OIA executive director, “This report makes clear that the outdoor recreation economy is not only thriving, but is a powerful economic force that embodies the American spirit.  Public lands and waters are the foundation of this powerful economic force.  By investing in and protecting America’s public lands and waters, we invest in our future and the continued well-being of America.  Together, we can thrive outside.”

Last year, the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act (REC Act) was signed into law with unanimous, bi-partisan support in both the Senate and House of Representatives, a rare showing of unity in today’s divisive political climate.  The REC Act ensures that the outdoor recreation economy is now separately calculated as part of the U.S. gross domestic product, an important milestone for the outdoor industry.  The Outdoor Recreation Economy Report and passage of the REC Act show that the outdoor recreation economy is thriving, and a vital component of the U.S. economy.

Image Courtesy of: Outdoor Industry Association, no changes have been made. Used under Creative Commons license.