New report shows RV industry a large contributor to U.S. economy

The RV industry has contributed more than $30 billion to the U.S. economy, a new government report shows – the first ever measured and reported – making it a major contributor to the U.S. economy, reports RV News.

The outdoor recreation industry had a gross economic output of $734 billion in 2016, the last year of available data. That impact is greater than other key economic sectors, including the mining, utilities, and chemical products manufacturing industries. In addition, with 4.5 million jobs, the outdoor recreation sector generates similar employment as other major job creators in the United States, including hospitals, transportation and warehousing, and educational services.

The report, federally funded by the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce, was released by Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The new measurement is called the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA).

The release of the data is a significant milestone for the outdoor recreation industry, which has long called for its sector to be formally included in government economic analysis.

To mark the announcement, the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) held a Capitol Hill briefing Friday with key federal officials, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Bureau of Economic Analysis Director Brian Moyer, Department of Interior Senior Advisor Rick May, and a video message from Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT).

“Today’s report provides official government recognition of the outdoor recreation industry as a powerful force in the American economy,” said Thom Dammrich, ORR chair and president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “As one of the nation’s largest economic sectors, it is critical that our national leaders do everything they can to keep the economic engine running at full speed. That includes common-sense policies to expand public access, modernize infrastructure and remove barriers to efficient and effective public-private partnerships. We thank the teams at the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account for their tireless work in making today’s report possible.”

The BEA’s analysis also found outdoor recreation to have had a strong wage growth rate of 4.3 percent between 2015-2016, which surpassed the overall U.S. wage growth of 2.7 percent during the same period.

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