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Relative to the landmass of coastal regions, America’s coasts and oceans contribute a disproportionately high value to the United States economy. For the past fifteen years, the National Ocean Economics Program (NOEP) has compiled time-series data that track multiple indicators for economic activities, demographics, natural resource production and values, non-market values, and federal expenditures in the U.S. coastal zone on land and in the water. On our website (, government agencies, academia, industry, advocacy groups and the general public representing more than 40 nations— have had interactive access to this information and used it widely for many different purposes.

This Update features highlights denoting economic changes that have occurred since our last report was issued in February 2014. We continue to measure two economies: the ocean economy, which includes all ocean-dependent activities in coastal states, and the coastal economy, which includes all economic activity in coastal states, according to geographies such as zip codes, shore adjacent and other coastal zone counties, and watersheds. In addition to updating the measures of economic activity such as employment, wages, and gross domestic product, we have updated our fisheries, offshore oil and gas, and ports and cargo data to indicate changes since our last report. Also, as we have in the past, we show sand nourishment production and price estimates; this time to track continuing changes in price and location in view of climate impacts along our nation’s coasts. We have added a new Arctic Economy page to our site and provide a brief report from it. Finally, we have been compiling federal expenditure data based on OMB annual estimates of all federal agency civilian expenditures for many years. We provide a brief summary of those data as well. The analysis presented here updates ocean economy information to 2013, the most recent available year for these data. Because of the lag in the production of ocean economy data by the federal agencies from which estimates are drawn, this report includes a new data series in the NOEP database: the Ocean Economy Coincident Index. This index utilizes more recent data on employment, establishments, and real wages to provide an indicator of trends between the most recent ocean economy data available (2013 in this report) and the most recent full year for which data are available (2014).

A Note on Data Sources: All of the data reported here except for the Arctic data is sourced from public sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Census Bureau, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations’ Office of Coastal Management, NOAA Fisheries, Department of Interior, States of Alaska, Texas, Louisiana, California and Mississippi and Alabama for oil and gas data, beach nourishment data from West Carolina University (http://beachnourishment. Thanks to Daniel Pauly and Rashid Sumalia at the University of British Columbia, for allowing us to use their Arctic fisheries data from Sea Around Us. All data is available for viewing and download on the website of the National Ocean Economics Program at www.oceaneconomics. org.


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