The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Tue Jul 5, 2016
Indiana’s Second Congressional District has seen more than its fair share of economic ups and downs.
If you go back to the 2009 Census economic data, at the peak of the recession, and zoom in on Elkhart County, one of the population centers of the Second, you would have seen a catastrophically high unemployment rate of 16.1 percent, well over the national average that year of 9.9 percent. If you look at 2014 data (the most recent that the Census has reported), Elkhart County’s unemployment is down to 4.6 percent, considerably lower than that year’s national average of 7.2 percent. It’s such a turnaround success story that Barack Obama, who made Elkhart one of his first stops after being inaugurated to sell the stimulus package, took a victory lap, returning to Elkhart in June to tout its recovery.
So what’s going on in Elkhart that caused it to fall so far and bounce so high again? It’s something of a company town, heavily reliant on one unusual industry: The manufacture of recreational vehicles, as well as modular and mobile homes. RV purchases were already troubled in the 2000s because of spiraling gas prices, and then once the financial crisis unfolded, luxury purchases like RVs became the last thing on anyone’s mind (and the housing supply overhang certainly cut into demand for new mobile homes). But with income bouncing back and gasoline at historically low prices, guess what people are buying again?