Outdoor recreation an $8.7 billion industry in New Hampshire

Report says sector employs 79,000 people in state


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Outdoor recreation in New Hampshire annually generates $8.7 billion in consumer spending and $528 million in state and local tax revenue, says a report from the Boulder, Colo.-based Outdoor Industry Association.

According to the report, 69 percent of New Hampshire residents participate in outdoor recreation each year, and are more likely to participate in day hiking and kayaking than the average American.

In fact, the report says, more jobs in New Hampshire depend on outdoor recreation than the state’s high-tech sector. There are 79,000 jobs in the outdoor recreation space and 44,000 in the high tech sector. Employees working in outdoor recreation jobs pull in $2.6 billion in wages and salaries.

In putting together the report, the authors counted a wide variety of activities to be included in the outdoor recreation category: camping, fishing, hunting, motorcycling, off-roading, snow sports, trail sports, water sports, bicycling, skateboarding and wildlife viewing.

New Hampshire comes out on top in almost all categories, when compared to other smaller New England states.

Maine generates $8.2 billion in consumer spending, supporting 76,000 direct jobs and $2.2 billion in wages and salaries, but does pull in a little more in tax revenue, with $548 million. Vermont attracts $5.5 billion in consumer spending, supporting 51,000 direct jobs and $1.5 billion in wages and salaries, translating into $505 million in tax revenue. And Rhode Island brings in $4 billion in consumer spending, supporting 37,000 direct jobs and $1.2 billion in wages and salaries, generating $293 million in tax revenue.

$887 billion nationally

Not surprisingly, wealthier states such as Massachusetts and Connecticut outperform the rest. Massachusetts pulls in $16.2 billion in consumer spending, supporting 120,000 direct jobs with $5.9 billion in wages and salaries and generating $911 million in tax revenue. Connecticut pulls in $9 billion in consumer spending, supporting 69,000 direct jobs with $2.9 billion in wages and salaries, generating $734 million in tax revenue.

Nationally, the report says, the outdoor economy generates $887 billion in consumer spending annually, which results in $65.3 billion in federal tax revenue and totaling state and local tax revenue at $59.2 billion.

There are 7.6 million jobs across the country in the outdoor recreation sector, outpacing the 6.7 million jobs in computer technology, 6.4 million in construction and 6 million in finance and insurance.

Based on consumer spending, outdoor recreation beats out pharmaceuticals, at $466 billion, though not financial services and insurance ($921 billion), outpatient health care ($931 billion) and hospital care ($964 billion).

"From Maine to California, consumers are spending more on outdoor recreation as millions of Americans depend on it for their livelihoods,” said Amy Roberts, executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association. “Outdoor recreation is a powerful economic engine that contributes to businesses and healthy communities in each and every state and is a vital and sustainable sector that relies on investing in and protecting America's public lands and waters."

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