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The Economic Impact of Fishing and Boating

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The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable reported that the Bureau of Economic Analysis released data showing that outdoor recreation in 2020 generated $689 billion in output and created 4.3 million jobs, resulting in $203 billion in compensation.

Boating and fishing had the highest economic growth in the outdoor-recreation sector, ORR reported in a statement.

This is the fourth consecutive year that BEA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, released government data on the outdoor recreation industry.


ORR shared the report during an online event Nov. 9 featuring comments by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Steve Heese, president and CEO of Chris-Craft; and others from BEA and outdoor-recreation organizations.

“The outdoor recreation economy is a huge contributor to national and local economies,” ORR president Jessica Turner said in the statement. “This data, along with what we have seen throughout the past year and a half, proves how vital continued investments in our public lands and waters and recreation infrastructure are to the national and local economies, and how communities big and small, rural and urban, benefit from outdoor recreation.”

3_ORR_BEA_State-by-state GDP

Highlights from the 2020 data include:

• Industry segments led by boating and fishing experienced record sales and unprecedented growth.

• Declines in travel and tourism had an outsized impact on outdoor recreation’s overall economic activity.

• Americans’ prioritization of outdoor recreation continues into 2021 with strong numbers in participation and sales data.

“Looking ahead, we expect consumer interest and sales to remain strong through 2021 and beyond as Americans continue to discover the benefits and joys of being on the water,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, NMMA president and ORR chairman.


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