Over the past five years, the sector had a 9.4 percent employment decrease, with the defense subsector being the leader in lost jobs, with 185,000 lost jobs, or an 18 percent decrease. Yet for 2016, an increase of $13 billion to the Pentagon’s budget will increase employment by an estimated 3.7 percent this year, or add about 31,267 additional jobs.
Low oil prices and a strong demand in travel is expected to boost employment in the commercial sector by 1.8 percent, the report said.
“The U.S. aerospace and defense sector continues to be one of the top employers in the U.S. economy, even with the five-year decrease in total employment,” said Tom Captain, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and aerospace and defense leader. “This sector’s jobs are also paying almost twice the national average, leading to greater economic value creation. A return to growth will be healthy for innovation, product development and game-changing technology creation – a cornerstone of this industry.”
The aerospace and defense sector employed 1.2 million workers in 2014, and another 3.2 million indirectly. While the defense subsector lost the most jobs, the smaller commercial aerospace subsector helped offset those losses with a 17 percent increase in jobs.
Aerospace and defense sector employees are employed in every state, yet seven states hold half of all jobs in the sector. The top states are (in descending order): California, Washington, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Connecticut and Kansas. This employee count does not include employees working in the public sector.
The study segregated the Aerospace and Defense sector into three subsectors: commercial aerospace, including aircraft, and general aviation; defense, including space and security; and sector-skilled workers employed by the US government agencies, such as NASA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and DoD depot-level maintenance and repair.
387,521 workers were employed in the commercial aerospace subsector in 2014, while 845,066 workers were directly employed in the defense subsector. Employees in these subsectors work for private, non profit, and registered public companies.