According to official data, the U.S. aerospace industry generated a trade surplus of $56.4 billion in 2012, the largest of any manufacturing industry. Exports are important to the domestic industry, with almost half of all domestic aerospace production exported. In addition, the Commerce Department found that the aerospace industry supports more jobs through exports than any other industry. (See here for more information)
The U.S. aerospace industry was hit hard by the recession, but has largely recovered. U.S. and global orders for commercial aircraft during the recession decreased dramatically, with Boeing’s orders dropping from 1,413 in 2007 to 142 in 2009. Business jet shipments were the hardest hit as cancellations resulted in negative net orders. Backlogged orders, defense spending, and growth in overseas markets helped cushion the industry’s fall. Global defense spending increased 5.9 percent from 2008 to 2009, with U.S. defense spending increasing 11.5 percent from 2007 to 2009. Moreover, a 2011 Forbes industry analysis of the aerospace industry found that carriers in China, India, the Middle East and Latin America expanded during the recession; from 2008 to 2010, 55 percent of carriers outside of the U.S. and Europe expanded their fleet compared to 22 percent of U.S. carriers and 40 percent of European carriers.
In the past decade, employment in the U.S. aerospace product and parts manufacturing industry (NAICS code 3364) has grown from 447 thousand to 500 thousand, an increase of 12 percent in marked contrast to other U.S. manufacturing industries. While the growth is remarkable, the size of the aerospace industry is impressive as well. The aerospace industry is one of the top two largest manufacturing employers at the four-digit NAICS code level.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
As detailed on the map below, employment within the aerospace manufacturing is heavily concentrated on the West Coast, especially in California and Washington. But there are significant levels of employment throughout the country, including the states of Texas, Kansas, and Connecticut.
Note: Paid employees for pay period ending March 12
Source: 2011 Annual Survey of Manufacturers
Growing demand for commercial and defense related aircraft has generated increased shipments of aerospace products and parts, evidenced below. From 2003 to 2012, shipments increased 64.7 percent from $124.7 billion to $203 billion.Note: 2012 data estimated
Source: Annual Survey of Manufacturers
With 49.4 percent of production exported, the aerospace manufacturing industry relies heavily on international trade. Top export markets in 2012 for aerospace products included China, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates. Together, those five markets accounted for $35.9 billion, or 30.5 percent, of aerospace exports. (See more stats from the International Trade Administration)
The table below summarizes the key industry data from 2010 to January – September 2013 for NAICS 3364. There has been a significant upward trend in industry shipments, exports, and employment.[table id=33 /] Source:BLS, Federal Reserve Board, USITC Dataweb, and ASM
According to the American Metals Market, the outlook for aerospace manufacturing is optimistic, with commercial aviation as the main driver, evidenced in the recent Dubai Air Show. With positive trends in aircraft demand expected to continue, U.S. employment and production within the aerospace industry should continue to grow as well, which would be a boon to the recovering U.S. economy.