The Outdoor Industry Association has released figures quantifying the economic impact of outdoor recreation in all 50 states, with a separate report for each state that tallies direct spending, jobs, salaries and tax revenue. This data demonstrates that outdoor recreation is an important driver of state economies, supporting jobs, businesses and communities.
In Connecticut, Americans spend $6.9 billion on outdoor recreation, supporting 70,600 Connecticut jobs, generating $2.2 billion in wages, and producing $502 million in state and local tax revenue. Connecticut offers spectacular outdoor recreation opportunities at treasured destinations, including Bigelow Hollow State Park, the Willimantic River Water Trail and many others, providing the types of outdoor experiences that produce these economic benefits.
The state-by-state figures expand upon a national report OIA published in June 2012, which found that nationally Americans spend $646 billion each year on outdoor recreation, directly supporting 6.1 million jobs and generating nearly $80 billion in tax revenue.
“Outdoor recreation is a growing American industry that produces significant economic benefits,” said Will Manzer, chair of the OIA Board of Directors and former CEO of Eastern Mountain Sports. “For example, Americans spend almost twice as much on outdoor recreation as they spend on pharmaceuticals each year. And outdoor recreation supports more than twice as many jobs as the oil and gas industry.”
Outdoor recreation creates diverse jobs in product development, manufacturing, marketing, logistics, sales, retail, public land management, guiding services and more — and also supports service sector and other jobs when people spend money on trips and travel-related expenses associated with outdoor pursuits.
With nearly 140 million Americans participating in outdoor activities each year, outdoor recreation is a larger and more critical sector of the American economy than most people realize.
The outdoor industry can continue to generate jobs and be an economic driver in the United States if parks, waters and trails are managed as a system designed to sustain these economic dividends for America.
“Outdoor recreation is good for the American economy and our future,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president and CEO of OIA. “When we invest in the nation’s network of public lands and waters, we are protecting and enhancing outdoor experiences for the benefit of the thousands of businesses, communities and families whose livelihoods depends on the outdoor recreation economy.”
The new data is an expansion to OIA’s 2006 study and tracks direct jobs as well as direct consumer spending on gear, vehicles, trips and travel in 10 activity categories. OIA commissioned Southwick Associates, a research firm that specializes in shooting sports, hunting, angling, natural resource and environmental economics, to perform the research. Motorcycle Industry Council and National Marine Manufacturers Association contributed funding and data to support this study.
The national report as well as a one page fact sheet for each U.S. state is available on the OIA website at outdoorindustry.org/recreationeconomy.
Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA supports the growth and success of more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives, and retailers of outdoor recreation apparel, footwear, equipment and services. For more information, go to outdoorindustry.org.