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 .
Wed Oct 25, 2017
The recreational vehicle industry is posting impressive numbers: RV wholesale shipments through August were up 15 percent compared to the first eight months of 2016, says the RV Industry Association.
That means booming business in Elkhart, where half of all RVs on the road are manufactured, say local leaders. The president of one manufacturer in the RV Capital of the World says 2017 “will set an all-time industry record in RV shipments.” It’s a tale of redemption for not only the industry, but three entrepreneurs who—after being told they were “insane” and had “terrible timing”—are enjoying the ride.
The ripple effects of the recession in 2008 and 2009 hit like tidal waves in Elkhart County, which gained national notoriety for having the highest unemployment rate in the nation when many RV factories shut down operations.
“It was painful. With such a heavily-concentrated employment base around the RV industry, this whole community and region felt it,” Grand Design RV President and CEO Don Clark told Inside Indiana Business. “It brought us down to our knees. It was the most painful time ever in my 33 years in the business.”
In 2012, when the region was still trying to rebuild post-recession, Clark and brothers Ron and Bill Fenech left a major RV manufacturer to launch “another way of doing business” and formed Middlebury-based Grand Design in Elkhart County.
“Everyone thought we were insane, including my family, and said why in the world would we [start an RV company],” Clark says. “People thought our timing was absolutely terrible.”
Founded in 2013, Grand Design now employs more than 1,000 people at its Middlebury campus. The company is thriving in the RV Capital of the World, where expansion announcements for manufacturers and suppliers are frequent.