Outdoor Recreation finally calculated as part of GDP!

On December 8, 2016, President Obama signed into law the bipartisan, groundbreaking and historic legislation that would count outdoor recreation jobs as part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the first time.  Up until last year, the U.S. government had not measured, tracked or released the jobs and values associated with the outdoor economy: protected lands, clean rivers, and healthy oceans which have been an important part of the American economy for over the past century.  

Today, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released their prototype statistics from the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) providing some initial calculations for review that size outdoor recreation as an industry:  

  • The outdoor recreation economy is said to represent 2.0 percent ($373.7 billion) of current-dollar GDP in 2016.
  • Our national outdoor recreation economy grew 3.8 percent in 2016, outpacing the 2.8 percent growth in the overall economy.  

We are excited to dive into this report, but in the meantime wanted to share the news.  At IBO we see this calculation as great progress in our national efforts to value and preserve the American outdoors.  These statistics should start to help businesses and their owners, as well as our government officials with necessary funding, resources and planning when it comes to advocating for the outdoors and its value to our American economy and our state economy here in Idaho.

The full text of the release on BEA's Web site can be found at https://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/industry/orsa/orsanewsrelease.htm


Heather Parkinson Dermott