It’s no secret that the Great Lakes are the backbone of the region’s economy; a new report quantifies a portion of their tremendous economic value.
In 2009, 273,410 people were employed in businesses that depend on Great Lakes resources, earning $6.9 billion in wages and producing $14.5 billion in goods and services, according to economists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“It’s pretty clear that the Great Lakes help power the nation’s economy,” says Jeffery Adkins, an economist with NOAA’s Coastal Services Center. “We have to protect the resources of the lakes if we want to maintain that economic strength.”
Tourism and recreation account for 79.5 percent of Great Lakes-dependent jobs, but marine transportation pays the highest average wage.
The findings are available on NOAA’s Economics: National Ocean Watch (ENOW) website. ENOW contains annual data from 2005 to 2009 for 448 coastal counties, 30 coastal states and the nation.