A new study from the U.S. Department of Commerce provides data on Maine’s recreation business as an economic force in the state.
According to the report, issued recently by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, Maine’s outdoor recreation business is third in the country – behind only Hawaii and Montana – as a percentage of the state’s total economy. Vermont was ranked fourth; New Hampshire tied Colorado and Utah for eighth place.
Findings in the report show that outdoor recreation makes up 4.8 percent of Maine’s economy, well above the national average of 2.2 percent.
Accommodations and food service related to outdoor recreation brought the state $986 million in 2017, the latest year for which data was used. Outdoor recreation goods manufacturing contributed $328 million. The retail trade amounted to more than $600 million.
In total, outdoor recreation provided $2.9 billion value-added to the state’s economy.
The total brought in by “conventional” outdoor activities, such as boating/fishing, RVing and snow sports was $905 million. Other outdoor pursuits – including amusement and water parks; festivals, sporting events and concerts, as well as golf and tennis – provided $277 million. The “All Other Supporting Outdoor Recreation” category was responsible for another $1.7 billion.
Most of the outdoor recreation business is classified as private industry, accounting for $2.8 billion; government provided an additional $90 million.
There were 40,720 jobs related to outdoor recreation in Maine, amounting to 6.4 percent of the state’s workforce. There were 2,400 jobs in manufacturing; 10,500 in retail; 600 jobs in finance, insurance and real estate; and 7,400 jobs in arts and entertainment. The 15,500 jobs in accommodations and food service supplied most of the state’s outdoor industry-related employment.
The state’s total outdoor recreation compensation was $1.3 billion; manufacturing’s share of that figure was $157 million; the retail trade earned $313 million; finance, insurance and real estate made $34 million; arts and entertainment earned $182 million. Total compensation in accommodations and food service was $478 million.
In other industry news, the Maine Office of Outdoor Recreation was officially established in July, “to advance Maine’s outdoor recreation economy,” according to a news release from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). Working in tandem with Maine Outdoor Brands (MOB), a nonprofit alliance of more than 90 member companies, Maine is the 12th state in the country to create such an office.