Wes Siler runs Indefinitely Wild, Outside’s lifestyle column telling the story of adventure-travel in the outdoors, the vehicles and gear that get us there, and the people we meet along the way. Heading out the door? Read this article on the Outside app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app .
The U.S. Department of Commerce just released its latest assessment of the outdoor recreation industry’s contribution to the national economy. The result? $1.1 trillion in total economic output during 2022. That’s more than oil and gas extraction, and mining, combined .
Nationwide, outdoor recreation was responsible for 2.2 percent of total Gross Domestic Product in 2022, and five million jobs. That’s 3.2 percent of total national employment.
“[This] shows that sustained investment in outdoor recreation and protection of our shared public lands and waters pays huge dividends for our local and national economies and quality of life,” states Jessica Turner, President of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, a trade group.
Locally, the economic output and jobs provided by outdoor recreation can be even higher. In Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, Wyoming, Vermont, and Massachusetts, it’s responsible for more than four percent of each state’s GDP.
The outdoor recreation economy is also growing faster than the domestic economy, as a whole. Between 2021 and 2022, outdoor recreation grew at 4.8 percent, while total economic growth was only 1.9 percent. Job growth in outdoor recreation during the same period was double the total national rate.
Turner says this new data should help the industry better lobby […]