The Fitness Industry Is Worth $22.4 Billion to the U.S. Economy, Says New Report

    Just released economic impact data reveals the enormous financial power of the industry

    Data from a new report from John Dunham & Associates (JDA) prove just how valuable the health and fitness industry is to the nation’s economy. Commissioned by the Health & Fitness Association, the JDA report says that the industry is responsible for $22.4 billion of economic activity, based on 55,294 health club and studio locations in the U.S.

    The report was released during the Health & Fitness Association Fly-in and Advocacy Summit on May 7-8. These numbers are a powerful testament to the enormous contributions the industry provides to the nation’s economy in the form of job creation, wages, taxes, and other financial metrics. The data will be shared in meetings with members of Congress during the summit.

    "We wanted to establish the importance of your industry,” said John Dunham, president of JDA, during his presentation at the summit. "Every association is talking to legislators. We wanted something to help you stand out."

    2024 Fly In John Dunham Presentation 2 column

    John Dunham, president of JDA, presents his findings to attendees at the Fly-In and Advocacy Summit on May 7, 2024, in Washington, DC.

    These numbers tell a compelling story in concise terms, explains Dunham.

    “We use tables to show the importance of the industry and build content points,” he said. “You've got five minutes in front of a legislator to tell them what's important. Everything comes from the data, and all of that is available, but in the end, they want to know the bottom line.”

    The report provides state-by-state statistics, which is designed to be utilized by Health & Fitness Association members when communicating with local and state policymakers. These are valuable data points for grassroots advocacy and networking with industry colleagues.

    “Knowing where your allies are can help when there are public policy or public affairs issues,” he said. “It’s always better to have friends with you.”

    More than 115 attendees from health clubs, studios, and suppliers are participating in the fly-in, with many leaders hailing the new report.

    “When I was hired by the board almost three years ago, one of my goals was to be able to share real numbers about the value our industry creates in this country,” said Health & Fitness Association President & CEO Liz Clark. “This data makes that goal a reality.”

    Highlights from the report show that the industry:

    • Creates 432,942 direct jobs in the country.
    • Pays $10.7 billion in direct wages.
    • Pays $5.29 billion in federal taxes.
    • Pays $5.35 billion in state and local taxes.

    Also figuring into the totals were the contributions of industry suppliers. According to the report, suppliers are responsible for creating 60,625 U.S. jobs, paying $4 billion in wages.

    “When I was hired by the board almost three years ago, one of my goals was to be able to share real numbers about the value our industry creates in this country. This data makes that goal a reality.”

    Liz Clark

    President & CEO, Health & Fitness Association

    In the coming weeks, the report will be available on the Health & Fitness Association website and Club Business International magazine.

    In addition to the JDA report, the Health & Fitness Association provided more statistics from its 2024 U.S. Health and Fitness Consumer Report, which will be released in four installments throughout the rest of the year. The report found that:

    • The U.S has more than 72 million health club and studio members.
    • The U.S has a higher percentage of active members of fitness facilities than any country other than Sweden.
    • Americans pay an average of $59 per month for membership, and 41% of facility users pay $25 or less per month for membership.

    “The data from this economic impact study and from our next Consumer Report show just how important the health and fitness industry is to the economy of the country as well as to the physical and mental health of Americans,” Health & Fitness Association Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Goscinski said. “This data is an essential part of our campaign to educate Representatives, Senators, and their staff, about the mental and physical health benefits of exercise—and of the size and scope of the businesses where consumers exercise.”

    The agenda for the historic 2024 Health & Fitness Association Fly-in and Advocacy Summit, the first under the new association name, includes education sessions on proposed legislation important to the industry, including the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act, the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act, and the AFFIM act, which promotes military readiness and retention through community-based fitness initiatives. On Wednesday, May 8, the 115 attendees will separate into 15 groups to attend arranged meetings with members of Congress to discuss these bills and other issues important to the industry.

    Also scheduled at the two-day event is a briefing on current polling for the upcoming presidential election; an Advocacy 101 session for first timers; a session on the importance of youth fitness; and a workout organized with members of Congress and their staff who are participating in the Congressional Physical Activity Challenge (sponsored by Myzone).

    The Health & Fitness Association would like to thank the following sponsors of the 2024 Fly-in and Advocacy Summit.

    Premier Level: ABC Fitness, Studio Grow, and Technogym

    Industry Leader: Matrix Fitness

    Advocate Level: Daxko, Myzone, and ROR Partners

    Supporter Level: Alta Technology Group, ClubConnect, DX Factor, EGYM, FitOn Health, NASM/AFAA, Precor, Tivity, Wellhub (formerly Gympass), WellnessSpace Brands (formerly Hydromassage), and Wexer

    For more information, visit the 2024 Health and Fitness Fly-in and Advocacy page.

    Author avatar

    Jim Schmaltz

    Jim Schmaltz is Editor-in-Chief of Club Business International.