New BEA Data Show Outdoor Recreation Continues to be an Economic Driver

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released economic data from the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account for the year 2022. The data show that in 2022, outdoor recreation contributed more than $1 trillion to the U.S. economy, with boating and fishing remaining a top contributor to the outdoor economy. Outdoor recreation represents 2.2% of U.S. GDP and creates nearly 5 million jobs and comprises 3.2% of U.S. employment. This is the largest economic impact measured in the history of the account.

“Recreational boating continues to be a major driver of economic activity, and the new 2022 BEA data capture Americans’ continued desire to be outdoors and on the water,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and current Board Chair of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR). “Our industry saw record sales in 2020 and 2021, and that momentum continued into 2022. However, as our industry faces headwinds, now more than ever it’s important that Americans’ access to recreational activities is protected. It’s clear that people want to get outside, and as an industry, we are working hard to ensure Americans continue to have access to the outdoor activities they love.”

Callie Hoyt, NMMA vice president of government relations, spoke on a call hosted by the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable highlighting the economic impact of the recreational boating industry. NMMA's data show that more than 800,000 jobs are supported by the industry, and that recreational boating generates $230 billion in economic impact.

Further, the recreational boating industry holds a unique position as a largely American enterprise. Ninety-five percent of boats sold in the U.S. are made in the U.S., with 93 percent of boat manufacturers classified as small businesses.

The recreational boating sector not only serves as a beloved pastime but also contributes significantly to the national economy. With headwinds that range from inflation to threats to boating access, it is now more crucial than ever to safeguard Americans' ability to partake in recreational activities.

Read more about the outdoor recreation economy at the ORR website and on the BEA website.