Fast Facts / Marine Economy

Marine Economy

The term “marine jobs,” used below, covers the U.S. oceans and Great Lakes and is based on the most recent data available (2020) from the Marine Economy Satellite Account data set, a joint project between NOAA and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

2.2 Million Jobs

The marine sector provides 2.2 million jobs annually.

$364.7 Billion in Goods and Services

Annually, the marine economy contributes $364.7 billion in gross domestic product.

$617.6 Billion in Sales

In 2020, the marine economy produced $617.6 billion in sales—significantly more than farming, data processing and internet publishing, or utilities.

Pandemic-Driven Decline

Sales within the marine economy decreased by 8.5 percent in 2020 over the previous year. In comparison, the national economy decreased by 3.5 percent. Meanwhile, the national defense and public administration sector was the largest offset to the decline in marine economy sales, exhibiting a $9.7 billion-growth.

Some Big Earners

Private marine industries with some of the highest paid jobs include information (average $172,000 annually), utilities (average $144,000 annually), mining (average $132,000 annually), government (average $127,000 annually), and water transportation (average $124,000 annually). In comparison, the national total economy average annual salary is $79,000.

A Variety of Activities

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

  • National defense and public administration: $115 billion
  • Tourism and recreation – $112 billion
  • Offshore minerals – $67 billion
  • Transportation and warehousing – $22 billion
  • Living resources – $13 billion
  • Utilities – $9 billion
  • Ship and boat building – $8 billion
  • Research and education – $7 billion
  • Construction – $4 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

Data Source: Marine Economy Statistics. Statistics are real (adjusted for inflation). For marine economy statistics on a state and county level, see the ENOW database.