The outdoor recreation industry is good for the economy. On September 20, it was made official with the release of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’ (BEA) first-ever final Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) report. The release of the data is a significant milestone, and the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable has been busy advancing the organization’s mission around report’s findings. That work will continue into October and beyond.


  • The ORSA report finds that the outdoor recreation industry had a U.S. GDP contribution of 2.2 percent and annual gross economic output of $734 billion in 2016. This economic contribution level is greater than other key economic sectors, including the mining, utilities and chemical products manufacturing industries.

  • 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.

  • Wage growth in the outdoor recreation industry is growing faster than in the overall U.S. economy – growing at 4.3% from 2015 to 2016, compared to 2.7% growth in the overall U.S. economy.

This landmark report was made possible through the bipartisan leadership of U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). ORR has been working hard with their offices, and others, to ensure that funding for ORSA is included in FY2019 appropriations so that the government can continue to study our sector.

The full report issued by BEA can be found here.


To mark the release of the ORSA report, ORR hosted a Capitol Hill briefing on September 20 to discuss the significance of the new data and share insights on the impact of the outdoor recreation economy in the United States. We were honored to be joined by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, leaders from the BEA and Interior Department Senior Advisor Rick May. In addition, Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) delivered a video message to the audience celebrating the role of the outdoor recreation economy.

  • “Thanks to the work of our team at the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and many of you in the outdoor recreation industry, our country now knows just how big and important your industry is to the U.S. economy…The numbers are simply phenomenal.” – Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross                                                         

  • “Outdoor recreation activities touch almost every sector and every industry in the U.S. economy. In fact, it turns out that outdoor recreation activities show up in 67 out of the 71 industries that make up the U.S. economy.” – BEA Director Brian Moyer                               

For more event resources, including: news release, BEA presentation, video clips, full comments from Secretary Ross and BEA Director Moyer and more, click here.

Click for more photos

Click to watch BEA Director Moyer’s Comments

Click to watch Secretary Ross’ comments



Check out news coverage of the BEA report and related commentary from outdoor recreation leaders.


  • October 1: Launch of 2.0
  • October 2: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee mark up of key bills including Restore Our Parks Act
  • October 2-4: IBEX:  The International Boatbuilders’ Exhibition and Conference – Tampa, Florida
  • October 11-14: American International Motorcycle Expo – Las Vegas, Nevada
  • October 22-25: 2018 National Trails System Conference – Vancouver, Washington
  • October 25: ORR Government Relations Committee call
  • October 25: ORR Communications Committee call
  • October 30-November 2: 2018 SEMA Show – Las Vegas, Nevada
  • October 31-November 4: Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show – Fort Lauderdale, Florida