The Outdoor Industry Association recently compiled a state-by-state report of the power and influence of the outdoor industry. The map below will link you to an interactive map of the United States, that illustrates just how important outdoor recreation is to the American economy. Click on your state for an in-depth report specific to your local economy.
Each year, consumers spend a whopping $646 billion on outdoor recreation. From that spending, 6.1 million Americans find themselves employed by the Outdoor Industry. To compare these numbers against other industries, Americans spend more of their hard earned dollars on outdoor recreation than pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles, or fuel costs, and by no small margin.
This seems to come as a surprise to most, especially as the outdoor industry is not known for its power over the US economy and influence in Washington. When we think of the major players in our nation’s Capitol, the pharmaceutical and petroleum industries come to mind. Somehow, the outdoor recreation is being overlooked in DC. This is especially surprising, as the outdoor industry employs almost three times as many Americans as the oil and gas industry. Compared to the outdoor industry’s 6.1 million jobs, the oil and gas industry only employs 2.2 million. These numbers include every employee of either industry; from the folks pumping your gas to the CEO of Exxon, as well as the pros fitting your hiking boots to president of the OIA, Frank Hugelmeyer.
Fortunately for us outdoor enthusiasts, Washington is about to welcome the hero the the Outdoor Industry needs. Sally Jewell was recently nominated to take over as Secretary of the Interior by President Barack Obama, and is slated to be confirmed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on March 7th. Sally is the CEO of 127 store chain of outdoor stores, REI. Should she be confirmed, she will be one of the first outdoor industry veterans to hold such a high position in the White House.
Here’s to Sally and the future of the Outdoor Industry’s influence. Let’s keep our country beautiful.
Do you feel like your career should be all about outdoor recreation? Then join the movement. Here are a few sites that will get you started on your outdoor industry job search: