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  • Dealernews
  • Nov 25, 2022


Big gains by motorcycling, ATV riding, and side-by-side driving helped boost America's entire outdoor recreation industry to a record-breaking year in 2021, according to economic data recently released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The final BEA tally shows inflation-adjusted gross domestic product for the outdoor recreation economy increased 18.9% last year, powering past the 5.9% increase for the overall U.S. economy. 

The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable reported that the new data shows that outdoor recreation generates $862 billion in economic output and 4.5 million jobs. BEA listed motorcycling and ATV riding (which includes side-by-sides) as the nation's fourth-largest "conventional outdoor recreation" activity for 2020-2021, with $8.1 billion in current-dollar value added for the economy – up from $7.3 billion the previous year.

"To those of us in the powersports industry, these are not surprising numbers," said MIC President and CEO Erik Pritchard. "We've seen outdoor recreation giving a real boost to America's economy during the pandemic as more people throw a leg over a motorcycle or ATV or get behind the wheel of a side-by-side, to enjoy family time in the beautiful outdoors. The BEA data confirms that communities large and small, from all corners of America, benefit from outdoor recreation. We're proud to be part of the responsible recreators who are generating nearly a trillion dollars in economic value across the country."

Outdoor recreation contributes more to the U.S. economy than either oil and gas extraction, mining, or agriculture, according to the ORR, which is supported by the MIC, the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) and the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA).

"The BEA data underscores how important it is to invest in public lands, waters, and recreation infrastructure from coast to coast and for recreation activities of all types," added ORR President Jessica Turner. "From the creation of jobs and increased profit for small businesses in local economies, to larger boons to our national economy, this sector is a consistent driver, even in times of economic uncertainty. There are infinite benefits that come from more people spending time outdoors and they’ll only grow with continued investment."

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