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New U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Numbers Underscore Immense Value of the Outdoor Industry

November 10, 2020

Media Contact

Ryan Taylor

BOULDER, Colo. – The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) welcomed today’s release of new U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) data showing the economic impact of outdoor recreation. BEA found outdoor recreation contributed to the economies of all 50 states and accounted for 2.1 percent ($459.8 billion) of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) and $788 billion in gross output (consumer spending) in 2019 – a $10 billion consumer spending increase from 2017. The data also show an increase in outdoor recreation employment and compensation. Given the rise in outdoor participation during COVID-19, it is likely these figures will be even higher for 2020.

“Official BEA data on outdoor recreation is essential to our continued understanding of the industry’s impact on the economy, and to our advocacy efforts for legislation like the recently enacted Great American Outdoors Act,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of OIA. “The report published today proves that together, we are a force. The industry is a vital component of national, state and local economies, as well as an important catalyst to America’s economic recovery.

“The BEA release of economic data comes at a time when the health and wellness benefits of recreation cannot be overstated. A recent poll showed 69 percent of Americans have gained a renewed appreciation for the outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. People want to get outside for their physical and mental health. What’s more, they yearn for social connection, which they can find through safely distanced activities in neighborhood parks or national parks. The Outdoor Industry Association and our partners have and will continue to prioritize ways we can contribute to the economic, health, and well-being benefits across the U.S. in rural and urban communities. Now more than ever, we need the outdoors.”

Prior to the availability of government-generated data, OIA compiled the most in-depth state and national data on the economic benefits of outdoor recreation.

BEA launched its outdoor recreation economy project in 2017 to “deepen the public’s understanding of the economic impact of outdoor recreation, inform decision making, and improve governance and long-term management of public lands and waters.” In 2019, the agency announced it would also start sharing prototype statistics on state-level data.


About the Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry. OIA unites and serve 1,200 manufacturer, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation and outdoor participation. For more information, visit