US Marine Economy Continues Growth Trend -Report

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Sales and jobs in the United States’ marine industry are on the rise, according to the most recent statistics from the annual Marine Economy Satellite Account (MESA) released by two Department of Commerce agencies — NOAA and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

In 2022, the American marine economy contributed a total of $476 billion in economic impact, making up nearly 2% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). It generated $777 billion in sales, and supported 2.4 million jobs in 2022.

“A strong, sustainable marine economy helps build a greater, more Climate-Ready Nation,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said. “The Biden-Harris Administration and the Department of Commerce are committed to enhancing the marine economy, and helping communities and ecosystems grow and thrive.”  

“These figures show how essential the Blue Economy is to American prosperity,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “The ocean and the Great Lakes are integral to the overall health of America’s economy, and they impact our lives in numerous ways.”

The largest contributors to GDP are tourism and recreation, with $163 billion; national defense and public administration, with $149 billion; and offshore minerals, with $62 billion.

The sales sectors that showed the most growth for 2022 include ship and boat building, up 14.6%; coastal tourism and recreation, up 8.1%; and marine transportation and warehousing, up 7%.

“This report underscores the critical need to do whatever we can to support and bolster the marine sector,” said NOAA’s National Ocean Service Assistant Administrator, Nicole LeBoeuf. “Our nation’s marine economy influences many aspects of our economic landscape and our daily lives, affecting regions far beyond our coasts.”

“We can continue building a thriving marine economy for America by investing in restoration, sustainability and working closely with stakeholders,” said NOAA Chief Economist Monica Grasso, Ph.D. “A thriving, resilient marine economy uplifts our communities and drives our nation forward.”

The 10 sectors included in the report, ranked by sales, adjusted for inflation, and percentage change compared to the previous year:

  • Tourism and recreation, $220 billion, up 8.1%.
  • National defense and public administration, $194 billion, down 2.5%.
  • Offshore minerals, $66 billion, down 1.3%.
  • Transportation and warehousing, $56 billion, up 7%.
  • Living resources, $31 billion, down 6.7%.
  • Ship and boat building, $20 billion, up 14.6%.
  • Coastal utilities, $15 billion, down 3.2%.
  • Research and education, $12 billion, up 4%.
  • Professional and technical services, $8 billion, down 5.5%.
  • Marine construction, $7 billion, up 3.1%.