SUSTAINABLE WORKING WATERFRONTS TOOLKIT
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Data Sources and Methodology

The data sources and methodology section of the report discusses the nature and scope of available data by industry, geographic area and source, as well as the procedures that were used to inventory the current status of, evaluate the importance of, and measure changes in the U.S. ocean economy, as well as methods used to forecast future activity in the ocean economy.

Data on economic activity in Marine Construction, Marine Living Resources, Offshore Minerals, Ship and Boat Building and Repair, Coastal Tourism and Recreation, and Marine Transportation  were compiled from the National Ocean Economics Program and then analyzed for the period 1990-2010, and included information on employment, wages and benefits, and value added or contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Trends apparent in the data were used to forecast activity in ocean economy sectors for the year 2020.

Economic analyses were conducted for eleven U.S. coastal regions that comprise thirty coastal states and 444 counties that are within 50 miles of the coastline or located in the coastal zone as established by the Coastal Zone Management Act. The eleven ocean economic regions were defined based on bodies of water bounding the four major U.S. coastlines (Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Great Lakes) and geographic location (north, south, east, and west). The states or portions of states within each region are shown in this table.

Two types of data are available, and include general economic data organized by geographic area and industry classification, and specialty data designed for specific industries and geographies. General economic data consists of regional-, state-, and county-level data categorized according to industry classification and economic sector (table). Specialty Data consists of regional-, state-, and county-level data for specific ocean-related industries including commercial fisheries landings and values, commercial shipping port volumes and values, passenger nights on cruise ships.

Total economic contributions of ocean related activities were evaluated using IMPLAN® (IMpact analysis for PLANning) regional economic multipliers, which capture the effects of supply chain activity or input purchases (indirect effects) and re-spending of income by employees, business owners, and governments (induced effects). Value added multipliers for ocean economic activities in the eleven coastal regions can be viewed in this table. Economic multipliers are useful for decision-makers because each one is a single number that summarizes a myriad of economic activities and their interactions across sectors of the ocean economy. Thus, decision-makers can use multipliers to assess the potential impacts of new industries, as well as those that are of declining.

For example, a new seafood processing plant will spur economic ripple effects that increase the initial impact due to plant jobs, wages, and income from the export of plant products outside the region’s borders. Employee wages and plant income spent within the region will, in turn, be spent by employees and owners of other business. The ripple effect decreases with each spending cycle until it finally dissipates. Using the value added multipliers for the eleven U.S. coastal regions, we see that the multiplier for seafood processing ranges from 4.41 for Alaska to 7.79 for the South Atlantic region. This means that for $1 of initial economic activity in a seafood processing plant, the total value added would be $4.41 dollars in Alaska and $7.79 dollars in the Atlantic South region. It is important to note that these multipliers are only valid for each of the eleven coastal regions and should not be used to predict economic impacts for states, counties, or communities. The rule of thumb is that the smaller the geographic area, the smaller will be the economic multipliers.


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