Powersports Recognized as Significant Contributor to U.S. Economy

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has released a report recognizing for the first time that the outdoor recreation industry is a contributing force to the U.S. economy with $412 billion, according to a press release.

Funded by the departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and Commerce, the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account report found that outdoor recreation — powersports, concerts, festivals, and sporting events — contributed 2.2% to the U.S. economy in 2016. Outdoor recreation economy grew 1.7% in 2016, faster than the 1.6% growth for the overall U.S. economy. Additionally, the real gross output, employment, and compensation, all grew more quickly in outdoor recreation than the rest of the economy in 2016.

“This report represents official federal government recognition of the outdoor recreation industry, including the powersports industry, as a significant force in the U.S. economy,” Tim Buche, president of the Motorcycle Industry Council, said in a press release. “We need our nation’s leaders to do everything they can to keep the economic engine running at full throttle, including creating common-sense policies to expand public access, modernize infrastructure and remove barriers to effective public-private partnerships.”

Breaking the outdoor recreation industry down into activities: boating/fishing was the largest segment with $36.9 billion of real gross output. RV activities came in third with $30 billion while motorcycle and ATV recreation took up the rear with $20.3 billion. However, despite making up the smallest portion of outdoor recreation activities, motorcycles and ATVs are the fastest growing with 8% growth from the previous year (2015).

Thursday’s release was the final revised report, following prototype statistics released in February. The updated report reflects comments and feedback solicited by BEA and submitted by organizations representing the powersports industry, as well as other groups in the outdoor recreation economy.

The report is the latest effort by those in the industry to have powersports recognized by the government. The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable is a collective formed by the Motorcycle Industry Council, Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, and the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association to work with the U.S. Department of the Interior to promote legislation and policy reform to enhance the outdoor recreation economy.

The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable organized a Capitol Hill briefing Thursday with federal officials that included Bureau of Economic Analysis Director Brian Moyer, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and a video message from Montana Senator Steve Daines. The discussion included the significance of the report and shared insights on the outdoor recreation economy’s impact on the United States.

Don’t let opportunity ride by. Join us for PowerSports Finance 2018 on Nov. 6-7 at the Omni Fort Worth. Go to for details and to register.

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