The 2018 marine economy outpaced U.S. economy

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A report published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) found the U.S. marine economy – also referred as the “blue economy” – contributed an estimated $373 billion to the national gross domestic product in 2018. The same report stated the American blue economy grew at a faster pace in 2018 “than the nation’s economy as a whole.”

NOAA’s announcement on June 2 was based upon marine economy statistics released by two Department of Commerce agencies.

Ten sectors of the marine economy, representing businesses dependent upon our oceans and coasts between 2014 and 2018, were analyzed by NOAA and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The growth rate of marine-related growth domestic product from 2017 to 2018 was 5.8 percent, according to NOAA staff. The growth rate for the U.S. economy, as a whole, in the same time period was 5.4 percent.

As many as 2.3 million jobs, in 2018, were supported by businesses included in the report, NOAA staff added.

“These statistics are the first-of-its-kind estimate of the U.S. marine economy, a primary driver of jobs, innovation and economic growth,” retired Navy Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and deputy NOAA administrator, said “Data such as these provide a critical baseline to inform, track progress and accelerate America’s economic recovery.”

The 10 sectors includes in the Department of Commerce and NOAA study were: tourism and recreation, including recreational fishing ($143 billion); national defense and public administration ($124 billion); offshore minerals ($49 billion); transportation and warehousing ($25 billion); commercial fishing and aquaculture ($13 billion); ship and boat building ($9 billion); power generation ($4 billion); research and education ($3 billion); construction ($2.5 billion); and, professional and technical services ($31 million).

“For the first time, the United States has ocean data that can be compared with our official statistics on other U.S. industries and with the ocean economies of other nations,” Mary Bohman, BEA’s acting director, said. “These prototype statistics offer a baseline for understanding the importance of the ocean economy, including recreation, seafood, transportation and ship building. Businesses, policymakers, and coastal communities can use these economic data as a compass as they chart the way forward.”



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