The nation’s ocean and Great Lakes continue to fuel economic growth across the U.S. The latest economic figures in NOAA’s report on the U.S. Ocean and Great Lakes Economy show gross domestic product (GDP) from the ocean economy grew 5.7 percent between 2014 and 2015, more than twice as fast as the U.S. economy as a whole, which grew by 2.7 percent.
Tourism and recreation was the top employer with 2.3 million employees. This sector also contributed $116 billion in GDP, the highest of all the ocean and Great Lakes economy sectors. The tourism and recreation sector surpasses offshore mineral extraction, the previous top contributor to the ocean and Great Lakes economy.
The ocean and Great Lakes economy is comprised of six job sectors dependent on natural ocean resources: living resources; marine construction; marine transportation; offshore mineral extraction; ship and boat building; and tourism and recreation.
The analysis completed for this report says the ocean economy sectors created 97,000 new jobs, growing by 3.2 percent during the reporting period as compared to overall U.S. economic growth of 2.1 percent. In 2015 alone, the ocean and Great Lakes supported:
The report also provides top-level economic information about coastal states, as shown by the examples below.
The report uses data from 2005–2015, derived from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.