Statistics complied by AIA’s Aerospace Research Center have pointed to record figures being reported in the aerospace industry last year – aided by a strong final quarter.
The industry added 7,300 jobs in the final quarter alone, with $241 billion in orders, $175 billion in shipments, with a backlog now swelled to $281 billion – shattering old marks for orders and backlog, while also recording the largest number of shipments in history.
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Founded in 1919, the Aerospace Industries Association represents the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military, and business aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, space systems, aircraft engines, materiel, and related components, equipment services, and information technology.
The 7,300 employment increase continues an upswing, much needed after the industry hit a 50-year low in 2004.
‘The continued strength in aerospace is a good sign not only for our industry, but the U.S. economy as a whole,’ said AIA President and CEO John Douglass in a statement released by the association.
However, there are expected to be large scale losses in the experienced end of the industry from around 2010, as NASA retires the Space Shuttle fleet at a time where 25 percent of the workforce involved with the orbiters are set to reach retirement themselves.
The AIA’s Aerospace Research Center figures show orders totalling $241 billion in 2005. The previous high value for orders was $166 billion in 2000. The backlog swelled to $281 billion, besting the previous mark of $221 billion in 1997, and shipments increased to $175 billion, up from $154 billion in 2004.
Dramatic jumps in civil aircraft, which includes commercial airliners, fueled the statistics, increasing $73 billion to $156 billion. That represents a gain of 88.5 percent over the previous year, and much of that was in the final quarter, when $67 billion in orders came in. Defense orders also increased $7 billion to $73 billion – the second highest level in 14 years.
The increase in aerospace jobs, which includes instrument manufacturing, took the total workforce to 626,300 in December 2005, representing a gain of 21,400 for the year. Aerospace employment had been declining steadily from 1.3 million in 1989 to the low point of 579,700 in February 2004.
AIA Research Director David Napier said one in three manufacturing jobs added nationally since that point have been in the aerospace industry.
AIA’s Aerospace Research Center website