New Economic Impact Numbers for Outdoor Recreation – Feb 2018

On Wednesday ( Feb 14th ) , the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released numbers detailing the economic power of the outdoor recreation industry, showing it comprises 2 percent ($373.7 billion) of the entire 2016 U.S. Gross Domestic Product.It’s an impressive figure puts it on the scale  like construction (4.3 percent); legal services (1.3 percent); agriculture, including farming, forestry, and fishing (1 percent); and, most significantly, mining, oil, and gas extraction (1.4 percent). The report also stipulates that the outdoor industry is growing by 3.8 percent, a faster rate than the overall economy (2.8 percent). 

The BEA’s report differs from the Outdoor Industry Association’s own 2017 report, which said that outdoor recreation was $887 billion in size. The big difference was in methodology.  In addition to the $373 billion GDP figure, the BEA also measured gross output from the outdoor recreation economy, a figure that totaled $673 billion, and is as close as it gets to an apples-to-apples comparison with the OIA report. It makes a big difference that this is a number derived from an established and trusted government agency and not a private industry association.  What’s more, the number gives a solid comparison with other industries.

Roberts notes that the foremost opportunity presented by the bill is to pressure Congress to restore funding to recreation opportunities on public lands. “With these numbers we can show that investing in outdoor rec will spur the economy,” she says. “The upcoming infrastructure bill is a great opportunity to build trails and keep campgrounds open. Putting dollars into outdoor recreation infrastructure, especially in rural areas that have been suffering from the decline in extraction industries, is a smart way to rebuild those economies.”

The entire summary of the report can be found at….