Document Type


Publication Title

Ocean & Coastal Management



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Publisher location

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Last Page


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Abstract/ Summary

Coastal managers are frequently required to consider the economic implications of their decisions, but economic data needed to support decisions is frequently lacking. This paper discusses the creation of a national data set that measures economic activity related to the oceans and Great Lakes of the U.S. Measures include employment, wages, establishments, and output. The data is derived from existing data maintained by the federal government to assure temporal and spatial consistency of measurement. The data set defines the “ocean economy” through a combination of industry and geographic location features to measure 21 separate industries in 6 sectors, at the national, state, and county levels. The data is subject to several suppression screens required to assure confidentiality of reported information. Analysis of the data for 2007 indicates that the national ocean economy of the U.S. is about 2% of U.S. employment and 1.7% of gross domestic product; it is comparable in size to other natural resource industries in the U.S. State and county level data indicate the ocean economy is largest in urban areas but is more likely to be a larger share of the economy of rural areas. The ocean economy data opens up numerous avenues for improvement in the estimation of employment and output and construction of models relating the ocean economy to changes in natural resources and to other changes in the economy.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Colgan, C.S. 2013. The ocean economy of the United States: Measurement, distribution, & trends. Journal of Ocean and Coastal Management, Volume 71, January 2013, Pages 334–343. doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.08.018

Publisher Statement

© 2013 Elsevier Ltd.




post-print (i.e. final draft post-refereeing with all author corrections and edits)



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In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.