New U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Numbers Demonstrate Vibrant Outdoor Industry

BOULDER, Colo. – The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) today released new data on the economic impact of outdoor recreation in 2021. BEA found outdoor recreation accounted for $862.0 billion in gross economic output, 1.9 percent of gross domestic product, and 4.5 million jobs in 2021.  

“These encouraging numbers showcase an industry that generates millions of jobs across the country and contributes billions to the total economy every year – $173 billion more than last year. This show of economic strength is coupled with data OIA released this fall revealing the highest ever recorded number of new and returning participants in outdoor recreation,” said Kent Ebersole, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) interim executive director. “This resurgence in outdoor participation demonstrates an ever-growing appreciation for America’s outdoors that is fueling tremendous mental and physical health benefits for millions of people and supporting new investments in green spaces for all Americans.” 

“Keeping up with the increased demand for outdoor recreation requires bipartisan collaboration at all levels of government, investments in local recreational infrastructure and parks, and an increase in access to public lands and waterways for all Americans. It further supports the need for Congress to pass the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, which would inject critical federal support for outdoor recreation infrastructure, public parks, and our industry.” 

BEA launched its outdoor recreation economy project in 2017 to “deepen the public’s understanding of the economic impact of outdoor recreation, inform decision making, and improve governance and long-term management of public lands and waters.” 



About the Outdoor Industry Association  

Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry. For more than 30 years, OIA has served as the trusted convenor, resource, and voice of the outdoor industry. OIA unites and serves manufacturers, suppliers, sales representatives, and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation, and outdoor participation. The association provides its members with insights, advocacy, and opportunities for action that support the long-term success of outdoor businesses and ensure the outdoor experience for all.  For more information, visit