Outdoor recreation accounted for $788 billion in 2019, supporting 5.2 million jobs
Outdoor recreation is emerging as a critical element in the economic recovery from COVID-19 as the recreation economy delivers a larger share of U.S. economic output for the second consecutive year.
The federal government’s latest tally of the outdoor recreation economy showed a $787.6 billion economic impact from businesses supporting 5.2 million jobs. The report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis issued this week showed outdoor recreation’s businesses and participants supported 2.1% of the nation’s economic output, or gross domestic product.
This is the third annual report on the U.S. recreation economy. The 2017 report was the first to quantify the growing role of recreation in the national economy. Each year since, the recreation economy has grown, often at a faster rate than the national economy.
The 2019 report from the BEA showed the recreation economy providing $459.8 billion in “nominal value” — spending minus the costs of goods and services — to the gross domestic product, which the bureau counted as $21.4 trillion in 2019. The bureau’s 2019 study showed the recreation economy’s “real gross output,” which covers consumer and business spending as well as wages, reached $787.6 billion, up from $776.8 billion in 2018 and $759.6 billion in 2017.
The outdoor recreation economy in the U.S. is “bigger than mining and bigger than agriculture and on par with broadcasting and telecommunications,” said bureau economist Dirk van Duym in a presentation early Tuesday after the report was released.
Read more from Jason Blevins, The Colorado Sun.
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