Economics: National Ocean Watch (ENOW)

Get It Now

  • Quick Report Tool ‒ Choose a year and geographic area for a subset of the data
  • Tabular Data ‒ Download the full data set
  • API – Access data documentation and services (XML and JSON)

ENOW provides time-series data on the ocean and Great Lakes economy, which includes six economic sectors dependent on the oceans and Great Lakes. ENOW is available for counties, states, regions, and the nation in a wide variety of formats.

See the Data

  • County Snapshots ‒ easy-to-understand stories about your county, complete with charts and graphs; the “Ocean Jobs” and “Wetland Benefits” snapshots use ENOW data
  • Data Summary ‒ a national-level summary of the most currently released data

Interact with the Data

  • ENOW Explorer ‒ a tool using maps, charts, and graphs to show changes in the ENOW data from place to place and over time

Data Specifications

  • Area of Coverage: Approximately 400 coastal counties, 30 coastal states, 8 regions, and the nation
  • Dates Available: 2005 to 2011
  • Format: Comma-separated value (CSV)
  • Scale: National, state, and county


Ocean and Great Lakes Economy (graphic)
The Ocean and Great Lakes Economy described in ENOW includes six economic sectors that depend on the oceans and Great Lakes:

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

Economic Indicators
ENOW describes the Ocean and Great Lakes Economy using four important economic indicators:

  • Establishments
  • Employment
  • Wages
  • Gross domestic product (GDP)

Data Sources
ENOW uses two sources of data:

  • Establishments, wages, and employment are derived from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Gross domestic product (GDP) is based on the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ GDP-by-state statistics.

Geographic Footprint (graphic)
ENOW provides data for approximately 400 coastal counties, 30 coastal states, 8 regions, and the nation. The basic geographic footprint for ENOW’s county-level data is a suite of “Coastal Shoreline Counties” determined by using the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s definition, which states that a coastal county must

  1. have a coastline bordering the open ocean or the Great Lakes or
  2. contain coastal high hazard areas (V-zones).

ENOW makes two adjustments to the list of Coastal Shoreline Counties:

  1. removal of shore-adjacent counties with no relevant economic activity (11 counties and the District of Columbia) and
  2. the addition of counties that are not shore-adjacent but do have significant levels of ocean- and Great Lakes-dependent economic activity (17 counties).

The methods that are used to generate ENOW data build on an extensive body of research dating to the late 1970s. The current composition of its six ocean and Great Lakes-dependent sectors is largely the work of the National Ocean Economics Program. Each sector represents an aggregation of relevant economic activity. For more detail, see the Frequently Asked Questions under the support tab.

Data are georeferenced by Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code. FIPS includes a unique code for each state and county. It is published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Notes and Limitations
In accordance with Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) policy, data provided to the bureau in confidence are not published and are used only for specified statistical purposes. BLS withholds publication of employment and wage data when necessary to protect the identity of cooperating employers. Totals at the industry level for the states and the nation include data suppressed within the detailed tables. In addition, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data, like other employment statistics, do not reflect the economic activities of the self-employed.

Stories from the Field

Estimating the Economic Contribution of Gloucester, Massachusetts’ Working Waterfront
Harbor planners used ENOW data to tailor their maritime economy profile and identify ocean-related businesses at a city level.

Developing an Economic Baseline for Recreation and Tourism on the Atlantic Coast
Researchers used Economics: National Ocean Watch (ENOW) data from the Ocean Jobs Snapshot to develop baseline economic profiles for 70 East Coast communities vulnerable to tourism and recreation impacts from offshore wind facilities.

Story Maps

A Tour of Ocean and Great Lakes Economies
ENOW data are used to highlight the ocean and Great Lakes economy and showcase some quick facts about each sector.

Jobs in the Fishing Industry
ENOW data are used to highlight the employed and self-employed workers in the fishing industry around the United States.

Ocean Sectors: Tourism and Recreation, Offshore Minerals
ENOW data are used to demonstrate who employs the most people and who generates the largest economic output in the ocean and Great Lakes economy.

Ocean Jobs by the Number
ENOW data are used to highlight areas that have a high number or proportion of jobs that depend on the resources of the oceans and Great Lakes.


ENOW Frequently Asked Questions
Answers a number of questions about the data, methods, and uses.

What Is the Ocean and Great Lakes Economy? (graphic)
A graphic portrayal of the elements that make up the ENOW Ocean and Great Lakes Economy.

What's in the Ocean and Great Lakes Economy? (table)
Shows how data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) are aggregated to create the six ENOW sectors. BLS and BEA data are classified by type of industry using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Each ENOW sector represents a composite of multiple NAICS industry classes that depend on the oceans and Great Lakes.

NOAA Economic Report and Infographics
Provides a detailed analysis of ENOW data, including background on the ocean and Great Lakes economy, as well as infographics, or visual representations of the data, at the national, regional, and state levels.

ENOW Announce List Server
Provides subscribers updates on socioeconomic resources for ocean and coastal management.

Blogs and Webinars

GeoZone Blog Posts Related to the Ocean Economy

American Planning Association Blogger – Unique Economic Data Set Available for Coastal Communities

Digital Coast Webinar – Dive into the Data: A Virtual Intro to the Ocean and Great Lakes Economy

Have a Question? Or a Comment? Let us know.
If you have questions or comments about ENOW data, contact us at

Recommended Citation

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Economics: National Ocean Watch (ENOW) Data. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Charleston, SC: NOAA Office for Coastal Management. Available at