The Ocean and Great Lakes Economy – Dependent on a Healthy Coastal Ecosystem

The ocean and Great Lakes economy contributed over 2.6 million jobs and more than $222.7 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2009 (NOAA Coastal Services Center 2011).

The U.S. economy depends heavily on the ocean. The ocean not only supplies millions of jobs but also supports industry that sustains the Nation’s GDP. The ocean and Great Lakes economy, is described by six economic sectors:

  • Living Resources
  • Marine Construction
  • Marine Transportation
  • Offshore Mineral Resources
  • Ship and Boat Building
  • Tourism and Recreation

Tourism and recreation is the largest sector of the ocean economy, contributing 72.2 percent of employment and 27.6 percent of GDP. However, the average wage per employee, $19,947, is much smaller than other industries. In fact, the offshore mineral resources sector contributes $125,701 per employee. Explore these and other facts about the U.S. ocean and Great Lakes economy on the Economics: National Ocean Watch (ENOW) Web site.


Economics: National Ocean Watch

Economics: National Ocean Watch Web site. Credit: NOAA Coastal Services Center


Closer Look

Relevant Links

NOAA's Spatial trends in Coastal Socioeconomics (STICS)

NOAA's Economics: National Ocean Watch (ENOW)

National Ocean Economics Program