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Ocean Jobs

The term “marine jobs,” used below, covers the U.S. oceans and Great Lakes and is based on the most recent data available (2018) from the Marine Economy Satellite Account data set, a joint project between NOAA and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

2.3 Million Jobs

The marine sector provides 2.3 million high-paying jobs annually.

$373 Billion in Goods and Services
Ocean economics thumbnail

Annually, the marine economy contributes about $373 billion in gross domestic product.

$617 Billion in Sales

Each year, the marine economy produces $617 billion in sales—significantly more than agriculture, data processing and internet publishing, or utilities.

Impressive Growth

Sales within the marine sector grew by 7.5 percent in 2018 over the previous year. In comparison, the national economy grew by 6.1 percent. The following four sectors within the marine economy accounted for 89 percent of its 2017 to 2018 growth:

  • Tourism and recreation – $14 billion growth
  • Defense and public administration – $11.4 billion growth
  • Oil and gas – $7.5 billion growth
  • Shipbuilding – $5 billion growth

Some Big Earners

Private ocean sectors with the highest paid jobs include oil and gas (average $210,000 annually); power generation (average $129,000 annually); transportation (average $117,000 annually); and shipbuilding (average $95,000 annually). In comparison, the national total economy average annual salary is $71,000.

A Variety of Industries

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

  • Tourism and recreation – $143 billion
  • Defense and public administration – $124 billion
  • Offshore oil and gas – $49 billion
  • Transportation – $25 billion
  • Fisheries and other bio-products – $13 billion
  • Shipbuilding – $9 billion
  • Power generation – $4 billion
  • Research and education – $3 billion
  • Construction – $2.5 billion
  • Professional and business services* – $31 million

(*This sector is still under development and the current results do not reflect the entire sector yet.)

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