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Marine Economy

The term “marine economy” covers the U.S. oceans and Great Lakes, and refers to jobs and businesses that depend on marine and coastal resources. This is different from the “coastal economy,” which refers to jobs and businesses in coastal shoreline counties (economic information on shoreline counties can be found on the Economics and Demographics page). Statistics on this page are based on the most recent data available (2019).

2.4 Million Jobs

The marine sector provides 2.4 million jobs annually.

$397 Billion in Goods and Services
Marine Economy thumbnail

Annually, the marine economy contributes about $397 billion in gross domestic product.

$665.7 Billion in Sales

In 2019, the marine economy produced $665.7 billion in sales—significantly more than farming, data processing and internet publishing, or utilities.

Impressive Growth

Sales within the marine sector grew by 5.1 percent in 2019 over the previous year. In comparison, the national economy grew by 1.8 percent. The following four sectors within the marine economy accounted for the largest contribution of 2018 to 2019 growth:

  • Tourism and recreation – $2.7 billion growth
  • Defense and public administration – $8.7 billion growth
  • Offshore minerals – $12.3 billion growth
  • Shipbuilding – $8.1 billion growth

Some Big Earners

Private marine sectors with the highest paid jobs include utilities (average $140,000 annually); oil and gas (average $133,000 annually); ship and boat building (average $108,000 annually); and transportation (average $100,000 annually). In comparison, the national total economy average annual salary is $71,800.

A Variety of Industries

The following figures demonstrate annual gross domestic product for the 10 marine sectors:

  • Tourism and recreation – $149 billion
  • Defense and public administration – $115 billion
  • Offshore minerals – $57 billion
  • Transportation – $26 billion
  • Fisheries and other bio-products – $14 billion
  • Ship and boat building – $12 billion
  • Utilities – $8 billion
  • Research and education – $7.2 billion
  • Construction – $4.3 billion
  • Professional and business services – $3 billion
Economics graphic comparing the ocean ecomony to other sectors of industry.
Graphic is presentation-ready: copy and paste for use in a handout or presentation.

Handout: America's Marine Economy