Study shows boost in blue economy

A new study released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that, from 2018-2019, the marine-related gross domestic product grew by 4.2%, compared to 2.2% growth in the total gross national product.

Acting NOAA Administrator Ben Friedman said these statistics show the power of the blue economy as a driver of jobs, innovation and economic growth.

Businesses included in the report also generated a total of $665.7 billion in sales and supported 2.4 million jobs in 2019.

The 10 sectors ranked by their sales include:

  • Tourism and recreation, including recreational fishing ($235 billion)
  • National defense and public administration ($180 billion)
  • Offshore minerals ($93 billion)
  • Transportation and warehousing ($64 billion)
  • Commercial Ship and boat building ($31 billion)
  • Living resources, including commercial fishing and aquaculture ($27 billion)
  • Utilities ($12 billion)
  • Research and education ($10.4 billion)
  • Construction ($7.0 billion)

Nicole LeBoeuf, acting director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service, said this data is further proof of the importance of the blue economy. “It is nearly impossible to go a single day without eating, wearing or using items that come from or through our ports and coastal communities,” she said.

The data, report and other materials are available from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and on NOAA’s Digital Coast website. Comments or questions can be directed to