The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has released economic data for 2022 exhibiting outdoor recreation’s powerful and positive economic impact on the U.S. economy. The outdoor recreation economy in Utah grew an impressive 32.8% from 2021 to 2022, according to the BEA Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account. This year’s report shows that outdoor recreation creates $8.1 billion in value-added for Utah, accounts for 3.2% of Utah’s GDP and includes 71,677 jobs. 

This is the largest recorded measure for Utah since the BEA started calculating the size of the outdoor recreation economy in 2012. 

Key Highlights from the 2022 data on Utah’s outdoor recreation economy:

  • $8.1 billion in economic output; up 32.79% from 2021 to 2022
  • 3.2% of Utah’s GDP
  • 71,677 jobs and $3.6 billion in wages
  • Top industries include: snow activities, $602 million; RVing, $538 million; boating/fishing, $438 million; hunting/shooting/trapping, $245 million; OHV/motorcycling/ATVing, $136 million
  • Largest recorded measure for Utah since the BEA started calculating the size of the outdoor recreation economy in 2012

“With a continual rise in people drawn to the outdoors, Utah’s outdoor recreation sector continues to be a catalyst for economic growth and job creation,” said Jason Curry, director of the Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation. “Communities across the state are experiencing the numerous benefits of our readily accessible landscapes, and we will remain committed to fostering a high-quality outdoor lifestyle that drives the outdoor economy and enriches the lives of all Utah’s residents and visitors.”

At a national level, these new numbers show outdoor recreation generates $1.1 trillion in economic output (2.2% of GDP), comprises 3.2% of U.S. employees and creates 5 million jobs. This means the outdoor recreation economy contributes more to the U.S. economy than farming, oil and gas extraction, mining, and utilities. (ORR Release Link

This is the sixth consecutive year that BEA has released government data on this critical industry sector. The recent release shows how the outdoor industry, which played a vital economic and social role throughout the pandemic, has since sustained remarkable growth and continued to bolster local economies. The outdoor recreation economy remains a steady source of strength nationally and a booming job creator locally.   

“If there’s one thing to take away from the BEA presentation it’s this: the state of the outdoor recreation economy is strong, and sustained investment in outdoor recreation and our shared public lands and waters pays dividends for our local and national economies and quality of life,” said Jessica Turner, president of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR). “Our industry continues to provide benefits to communities across the country – big, small, urban and rural alike. To ensure that this success is sustainable and that our public lands and waters will continue to be accessible to all Americans for generations to come, we will continue to work together with leaders on the passage of America’s Outdoor Recreation Act by the end of this year. We are thrilled to once again see the data reflect what we hear everyday, that outdoor recreation is not a nice to have – but a necessity for healthy people, places and economies.”