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US outdoor recreation industry soars to $1.1 trillion

Nov 21, 2023 05:17PM ● By WNC Business

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released economic data on November 17 affirming the rise of outdoor recreation to a trillion-dollar industry. Further, New Hampshire experienced significant industry growth ranking 9th in the country for outdoor recreation as a percentage of gross domestic product. The 6th annual release provides data on the economic importance of national and state outdoor recreation economies to inform strategic industry development and policy investments, all of which is timely as the U.S. Congress will review America’s Outdoor Recreation Act before the end of the year.

Nationally, the 2022 data shows outdoor recreation generated $1.1 trillion in economic output, comprising 2.2% of U.S. GDP, and supporting 5 million jobs — 3.2% of all employees in the country – which contributes more to the U.S. economy by percentage than mining (1.8%), computer and electronics products (1.2%) and agriculture (1.1%). In the Granite State, New Hampshire regained its top 10 position among states for outdoor recreation as a share of state GDP, ranking 9th with 3.2 percent of GDP and 10th for overall industry growth (18.1%).

Additionally, outdoor recreation in New Hampshire provided 31,000 jobs and $1.5 billion in wages, ranking 6th for percentage growth nationwide (10.3%). “Outdoor recreation is a powerful and growing sector of our economy as reflected in today’s data. Now that we have several years of these reports, we have consistent data that underscores the value of our natural treasures and our need to preserve them,” said Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chair Jeanne Shaheen. “A healthy environment is the foundation of outdoor recreation. In New Hampshire, our clean air, clean water and snowy winters ensure our outdoor recreation small businesses thrive, especially those in rural areas. It is critical that we continue to provide adequate funding to maintain our public lands and support our outdoor economy.”

“Today’s data release shows that the outdoor economy is thriving in New Hampshire and should be on the radar of every policymaker across the State,” said Tyler Ray, Director of Granite Outdoor Alliance. “Through job creation, increased wages, and contributions to the economy, outdoor recreation stands as a bona fide industry rather than merely a weekend pursuit. It’s imperative that we actively embrace this data, and direct policy investments towards sustaining and nurturing this burgeoning economic sector.”

Highlights of the 2022 outdoor recreation industry numbers include:

● Workforce: Outdoor recreation compensation increased 9.1% and employment increased 7.4% nationally.
● Industry: Within the outdoor industry, retail trade is the largest segment ($153.6 billion) followed by Arts & Entertainment ($144.5 billion) and Manufacturing ($77.6 billion).
● Activity: RVing was the largest contributor for conventional activities ($35.5 billion) followed by boating/fishing ($32.4 billion), motorcycling/ATVing ($11.5 billion), and snow activities ($7 billion).

For more information and to access the full report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, visit

About Granite Outdoor Alliance:
Granite Outdoor Alliance is a membership-based business alliance comprised of more than 120 companies supporting New Hampshire’s outdoor industry, including manufacturers, retailers, hospitality, non-profits, and individuals and families. The goal is to develop a sustainable and inclusive outdoor economy that improves recreation infrastructure, responsible stewardship, healthy communities, workforce development, and economic opportunity. For more information, visit

Source: Outdoor Industry Association