Shaheen Lauds Department of Commerce Report Showing Significant Economic Contributions by Outdoor Recreation Sector

November 09, 2022

** The economic impact report is a result of Shaheen’s bipartisan bill that was signed into law in 2016.* 

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) lauded a report by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), showing the significant economic impact of the outdoor recreation sector in 2021. The Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account estimate, provided by the BEA through the Department of Commerce, is a result of Shaheen’s bipartisan legislation, the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2015, which she introduced with former Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2016. Shaheen is also chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Department of Commerce.

“These new figures reaffirm the economic strength of America’s vibrant outdoor recreation sector,” said Senator Shaheen. “After several years of these reports, we have consistent and comprehensive data on the financial impact of the outdoor recreation sector, which is key to guiding policy priorities that generate job growth and economic development. In New Hampshire, investments in outdoor recreation including through the Great American Outdoors Act help our local outdoor recreation industries thrive. I encourage policy makers from all levels of government to review the findings of this report and work with me and other lawmakers in support of outdoor recreation opportunities in our communities.”

Shaheen’s legislation required the federal government to measure the impact of outdoor recreation on the economy to help inform policy makers and business leaders about the number of jobs created and consumer spending driven by outdoor recreation industries. According to today’s preliminary estimates, inflation-adjusted Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the outdoor recreation economy increased 18.9 percent in 2021, compared with a 5.9 percent increase for the overall U.S. economy and represents approximately 1.9 percent of the GDP. The total economic contribution of the outdoor recreation sector in 2021 was an estimated $862 billion.

Prior to 2017, the federal government did not measure the economic impact of outdoor recreation, despite independent estimates, including the Outdoor Industry Association’s (OIA) report. In April 2016, following a letter from Senator Shaheen, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the Federal Recreation Council would work with the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis to assess the economic contributions of the outdoor recreation industry. Shaheen’s Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act ensures that this work continues in the future by requiring it in statute. The law also requires that the Commerce Department submit a comprehensive analysis to Congress capturing the outdoor recreation sector’s contribution to the economy.

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