The aerospace and defense sector is expected to add 39,000 jobs in 2016, reversing a five year trend of job losses, according to Deloitte’s U.S. Aerospace & Defense Labor Market Study.

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.

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Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO,, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer's Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine,, and the San Jose Business Journal. Chandler is also engaged in helping companies further their content marketing needs through content strategy, optimization and creation, as well as blogging and social media platforms. When he's not writing, Chandler enjoys his beach haunt of Santa Cruz where he rides roller coasters with his son, surfs and bikes across mountain ranges.