Montana leads the nation in the growth of its outdoor recreation business, exceeded only by Hawaii.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reports that the U.S. outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.2 percent ($427.2 billion) of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. 

The Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA) also shows that GDP for the outdoor recreation economy grew by 3.9 percent in 2017, faster than the 2.4 percent growth of the overall U.S. economy. Real gross output, compensation, and employment all grew faster in outdoor recreation than for the economy as a whole.

In Montana the sector grew at 5.1 percent of its GDP, the second highest percentage of total state production in the nation, except for Hawaii which grew 5.4 percent. They were followed by Wyoming, then Utah and Colorado.

Activities included in the three outdoor recreation categories are conventional core activities (such as camping, hiking, boating, and hunting); other core activities (such as gardening and outdoor concerts); and supporting activities (such as construction, travel and tourism, local trips, and government expenditures).

Conventional outdoor recreation accounted for 30.6 percent of the outdoor recreation economy nationwide in 2017, other recreation accounted for 19.3 percent, and the remaining 50.1 percent was supporting activities.

The industry grew least in Washington C at 1.2 percent and in Connecticut at 1.4 percent.

Other value added by industry highlights reported upon by the BIA include the following:

* Retail trade had the second largest sector contribution to outdoor recreation nationally, accounting for $95.7 billion of current-dollar value added. Retail trade was the largest contributor to outdoor recreation value added in 17 states, including Texas ($8.5 billion), Washington ($2.8 billion), and Ohio ($2.7 billion).

* Manufacturing contributed $51.7 billion nationally to the outdoor recreation economy in 2017 and was the third largest outdoor recreation sector. At the state level, manufacturing was the largest sector for outdoor recreation value added in Indiana ($4.7 billion), Wisconsin ($2.0 billion), Louisiana ($1.6 billion), and Kansas ($684.2 million).


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