New U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis numbers demonstrate vibrant outdoor industry

New U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis numbers demonstrate vibrant outdoor industry
Policy Alert

Outdoor recreation accounted for $862 billion in gross economic output, 1.9% of GDP, and 4.5 million jobs in 2021​​​

Hello from Washington, D.C., ROGER:

​​​​​It is a big day for all of us in the outdoor recreation economy! Today, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its annual report on the incredible economic impact of the outdoor recreation industry at the national and state levels. Simply put, the findings for 2021 are impressive.

According to the data release, the gross economic output for the outdoor recreation economy was a whopping $862 billion in 2021 (that’s $173 billion more than 2020). Outdoor recreation accounted for 1.9 percent of GDP in 2021—an 18.9 percent increase from 2020—where the overall U.S. economy only saw a 5.9 percent increase.

Additionally, 4.5 million people found employment in the outdoor recreation industry, an increase of 13.1 percent from 2020. This means that we are seeing an enormous rebound in outdoor recreation sector. More people are getting outside, buying gear, and finding good jobs in the outdoor industry—all great news for our community.

In 2016, President Obama signed into law the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act, which directed the BEA to measure the outdoor recreation economy across the nation. Since the first release in 2017, this data has been a powerful advocacy tool at both the state and national levels, making it easier for policymakers to understand the economic impact of the outdoor recreation industry across the nation and in their own districts or states. The bottom line: These numbers help us communicate our compelling and credible economic story. Coupled with the Outdoor Foundation’s recent findings that outdoor participation levels are at an all-time high, the economic data reinforces the strength of the outdoor industry as both an economic force and a social force.

Across the country, our community is celebrating the news. Be on the lookout for more information and a deeper dive into the data soon. Get outside today to celebrate a successful 2021 for the outdoor recreation economy and new opportunities in 2022 and beyond.

Together we are a force.

Hannah Wintucky
Government Affairs Policy Fellow

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Outdoor Industry Association (OIA)
P.O. Box 21497
Boulder, CO 80308