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Let Freedom Ring: RV Industry Drives the American Dream

By Emmalee Rice

The RV industry received a major boost during the COVID-19 pandemic that has yet to show signs of stopping. As lockdowns were enforced, people began looking for ways to stay safe without staying home. A popular solution was to buy an RV, camp trailer, boat, etc. It allowed families to get out and do things without endangering themselves or others. There were supply issues simply due to the volume of consumers, but they have since managed to create a system that allows demand to be met. The popularity of these recreational vehicles has continued to grow the industry and their impact on the economy. These impacts can be found on all levels: local, state and federal included. The RV industry provides jobs, revenue (including taxes) and more benefits to the economy.

The RV industry has provided jobs for more than just the people who manufacture and sell RVs. The industry also creates jobs in finance, campgrounds, insurance, repair, service and storage. In total, the RV industry impacts approximately 680,000 jobs and more than $48 billion in wages. This has created an economic increase of 23% in the output by the RV industry. There is a concern that the RV boom will soon end, but many sellers have yet to note any significant decrease to their sales or showroom viewings. As such many of these jobs will stay stable and continue to generate revenue for the employees and employers.

This booming industry has begun to generate revenue in the billions. The “RVs Move America Economic Impact Study” put out by the RVIA shows just how much revenue the RV industry has been able to generate since the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales and services of RVs have generated $30.5 billion. An additional $35.7 billion has been generated by RV travel and campgrounds. And RV manufacturers and suppliers have generated $73.7 billion. 

The RV industry also pays a collective $13.6 billion in taxes, on the local, state and federal levels. Craig Kirby, CEO and RV Industry Association President says that “every resident in America benefits from the Substantial tax revenue brought in by the RV industry. Taxes that fund roads, bridges, education, and the parks and recreation areas our customers visit”. This impact is felt especially in states where the RV industry is based. Some states have experienced more than $1 billion in revenue from the RV industry. Indiana, the founding place of RV manufacturing, has experienced more than $38 billion in economic activity just from the RV industry.

The revenue generated by the RV industry is not only helpful for the American economy in general. It also directly supports the outdoor recreation economy. It directly impacts outdoor services such as camping, hiking, boating, and fishing as people are feeling more inclined to participate in these activities without having to fully leave behind their comforts of home and can take their online work with them. People are discover  that they feel healthier because they are able to get outside and interact with nature more. They are finding happiness in their ability to not be tied down to any one place. It grants them a chance to experience many things they may not have otherwise without being uncomfortable or spending more money than they could make without an RV. As this continues to be the case the economy of outdoor recreation will continue to be benefited.

There have been many benefits to be found associated with owning an RV. It allows for more freedom to travel, a more minimalist lifestyle, and an easier time visiting family. But the recent boom in the RV industry has also created many benefits for the economy. It has created and supports thousands of jobs that do not show any sign of disappearing. It has generated billions for the industry, the states and the federal government. And it is helping smaller economies like the outdoor recreation economy. 

This boom has yet to show signs of stopping. There are limited numbers of sellers that have reported having to reduce their prices. Additionally, showrooms have begun to be able to keep their inventory levels where they need to be in relation to the number of sales and showings that have been experienced. The RV industry boom has had an undeniable impact on the American economy, allowing many to reap financial gains and many others to enjoy a sense of freedom found only by spending time in the great outdoors.

Emmalee Rice is a freelance writer and recent graduate of Northern Arizona University.

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