House Votes to Count Outdoor Recreation Economy as Part of U.S. GDP

In one of their first acts upon returning to Washington, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the Outdoor REC Act, a critical bill that quantifies the true size of the outdoor economy, including recreational boating. A companion bill passed earlier this year out of the Senate Commerce Committee, with the full Senate hopeful to vote on the legislation before the holidays so that it can be signed into law by President Obama.

The REC Act directs the Secretary of Commerce, through the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), to “conduct an assessment and analysis of the outdoor recreation economy of the United States.” A temporary pilot program was enacted by the Secretary of the Interior in April, so Congress’s action was needed to make sure that the outdoor economy—and its estimated 6 million jobs and $646 billion in economic activity—receives official government recognition for years to come.

Recreational boating is a significant part of the outdoor economy, representing billions of dollars in economic activity and hundreds of thousands of jobs. NMMA is an active part of the team that will work with the Bureau of Economic Analysis to shape how outdoor recreation is defined and ensure our reach and impact are recognized.