Washington, DC, June 7, 2016 – RVs Move America, the first-ever economic impact study of the recreation vehicle industry, revealed the RV industry contributed $49.7 billion to the U.S. economy in 2015, and provided 289,852 full-time jobs to American workers.
“The study demonstrates that the RV industry is a dynamic part of the U.S. economy,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), which commissioned the study. “American workers involved in our industry earned more than $15.8 billion in wages and benefits, and, along with the firms that employed them, paid $5.7 billion in federal, state and local business taxes.”
The RVs Move America report includes all companies involved in the manufacture, sale, rental, repair, storage, and service of recreation vehicles, as well as the aftermarket industry and the financing and insurance of RV purchases and the economic impact of recreation vehicle travel.
Results of the study were released today at a news conference held during an RV industry gathering in Washington, D.C. Joining Hugelmeyer were: Derald Bontrager, RVIA Chairman of the Board and President & CEO of Jayco Industries; Bob Martin, President, CEO & Director, Thor Industries, Inc.; Doug Gaeddert, General Manager, Forest River, Inc.; and Michael Happe, President & CEO, Winnebago Industries. Bruce Andrews, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce also participated in the event and applauded the industry for its growth, amplifying remarks made last week in Elkhart, Indiana by President Barack Obama.
“Today’s new report from RVIA could not be more timely, as just last week President Obama shined a spotlight on the recreation vehicle industry’s impressive growth during his visit to Elkhart, Indiana,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews. “RVIA’s research only reaffirms our International Trade Administration’s findings in its latest Top Markets Report, which highlighted the vast potential for America’s RV industry and our greater recreation transportation sector to increase their exports around the world and ultimately support more jobs and economic growth here at home.”
According to the study, there are 16,750 recreation vehicle accessible campgrounds in the U.S. and the industry’s impact on tourism is significant, with 72,494 total jobs and $2.5 billion in related economic output. It’s estimated that 22 million Americans are planning RV trips this summer, many heading to our country’s national parks to participate in the Centennial celebration of the National Park Service.
Top RV States
The table below from RVs Move America presents a summary of the total economic impact of the recreation vehicle industry in the United States. Summary tables for each state and congressional district are included in the study’s final report. Indiana (where more than 80 percent of RVs are made), California, Texas, Florida and Iowa are the top five states that benefit most from the RV industry, mainly due to the presence of manufacturing facilities and robust RV sales.
Economic Contribution of the Recreation Vehicle Industry
Increased interest in RVs has spurred the need for an expanded workforce across a number of sectors. The study estimates there are 228 RV manufacturing facilities in the U.S. that in 2015 directly employed nearly 31,000 workers. According to Derald Bontrager, president & CEO of Jayco Inc. and chairman of the RVIA board, that number will continue to grow in 2016 and 2017 with every RV manufacturer currently hiring and adding production space to keep pace with accelerating demand.
In addition, the study estimates:
- Recreation vehicle use accounts for 45,150 jobs at campgrounds across the country.
- Manufacturers of components used to assemble RVs, ranging from nuts and bolts to refrigerators and wood flooring, last year employed 13,108 workers.
- The industry is responsible for creating 60,562 jobs with firms related to the RV industry. These “indirect” firms provide a range of goods and services, including equipment, raw materials, personnel, financial, advertising, consulting, government, or transportation services. These firms generated about $10.5 billion in economic activity.
- RV dealers employed approximated 29,785 workers in the United States.
RVs Reach New Peaks
The ongoing RV expansion has established new records in units shipped and consecutive years of growth. RV shipments are expected to total 396,400 in 2016 and to increase to 404,800 in 2017, well above the quarter century record of 390,362 in 2006. Moreover, 2017 will mark the eighth consecutive year of expansion, easily topping the old record of five years of gains set in 2006.
What’s Driving a Thriving Industry?
Interest in RVs is high for many reasons including:
- Continuous improvements and innovative designs minimize weight, lower costs and incorporate high-tech amenities to suit the changing preferences of today’s consumer.
- Multiple options are available for a variety of tastes and price points - from pop-up campers to luxury motorhomes, toy haulers to fifth wheelers, and conventional travel trailers to park models.
- Continued modest gains in jobs, incomes and household wealth and relatively low levels of inflation, unemployment, and interest rates.
- Lifestyle: Recent Nielsen research shows the most appealing elements of RVing include being active, enjoying outdoor adventures and nature, and strengthening family relations.
- Increasing numbers of younger people are jumping on board to enjoy RV travel experiences.
- National and state parks perks: Campsites are offering more features, including electrical hookups, Wi-Fi and family activities.
About RVIA: The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association is the national association representing approximately 400 manufacturers and component suppliers producing 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States. Visit www.rvia.org for further information.
About the Study: The Economic Impact Study of the Recreation Vehicle Industry was conducted by John Dunham & Associates (JDA) and estimates the economic contributions made by the RV industry to the U.S. economy in 2015. JDA used standard econometric models first developed by the U.S. Forest Service, and now maintained by the IMPLAN Group LLC. Data came from the RVIA and its partner organizations, industry sources, the Federal Government and Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. (D&B). Visit www.rvsmoveamerica.org for complete results, including state by state snapshots.