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 .
Mon May 8, 2017
Author: Scott Hansen
The boom of the RV industry throughout the last few months has created its share of blessings and concerns.
Along with increased and record sales numbers, larger interest from consumers and other solid figures, it also has created a nationwide labor shortage.
In Minnesota, the shortage can be found primarily in service technicians, according to Brad Bacon of PleasureLand RV Center in St. Cloud, who also serves as the state delegate to the national Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association.
“The biggest challenge right now is finding enough service techs,” Bacon says. “We have plenty of service business and we’re a good 4-6 weeks out. But the issue has been finding techs and not even just experienced ones, but people who are even wanting to learn the trade and have any degree of experience or desire.”
Bacon says this shortage is happening at virtually all locations throughout the state and he and the other dealerships are trying several ideas to work it out and fill the positions that are badly needed.
“We’re being aggressive and going out there to job fairs, working with the technical colleges and the related auto industry people,” Bacon says. “We’re trying to put competitive wages out there and pay at premiums to get people attracted to that specific line of work; show them the benefits and give them a better understanding of what’s involved with the labor. Those are some things we’ve been trying to do and having some success in it.”
The labor shortage hasn’t done anything to slow down the RV business for consumers, however. The traffic into the dealerships and the sales numbers have been good across the board. In fact, another beneficial challenge facing Minnesota dealers is the fact that shipments of new products and models are essentially going straight from the shipments into customers’ hands.
“One of the biggest things now is trying to have enough inventory in certain product lines,” Bacon says. “Just being able to get some of the right product that’s selling well is still tough. As soon as some product comes in, we’re selling it.”
From the RV selling point of view, PleasureLand RV Center has seen a lot of success with its Grand Design and Keystone models in particular.
Another thing that Bacon and RV professionals in Minnesota are keeping their eyes on is the recent acquisition of Gander Mountain by Camping World. Gander Mountain is a Minnesota-based company and several news articles over the last few weeks show that close to 100 of the sporting goods store’s locations may be destined for closure.
“That kind of still remains to be seen,” Bacon says. “We’re hearing that they might liquidate a little bit of their inventory that they have and replace it with some Camping World stuff. It sounds like they’re cutting inventory and shortening some product offerings. That could affect some of the locations here in town.”