Strong Industrial Growth in Aerospace and Defense in 2018, AIA Reports

GPS III Space Vehicle 01, the Air Force's first next-generation GPS III satellite, is loaded into its shipping container at Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility clean room near Denver in August 2018. Lockheed Martin photo.

In 2018, the US aerospace industry recorded “another standout year,” with a nearly six percent increase in exports, the Aerospace Industries Association said June 6, presenting its mid-year interim statistical report on the health of the industry.

The US exported $90 billion more in aerospace and defense goods and services than it imported in 2018, extending a long-term trend as the nation’s industry leader in balance of trade. Total exports were $151 billion, a 5.8 percent increase over 2017. Overall, aerospace and defense represented nine percent of all US exports in 2018.

Aerospace and defense was an engine of $929 billion of economic output, contributing $324 billion to the gross domestic product in 2018. The aerospace and defense industry accounted for 2.5 million jobs, or 20 percent of all US manufacturing jobs. Of those, 881,575 jobs were in end-use while 1.67 million jobs were in the supply chain.

Aerospace and defense wages and benefits paid were also up substantially in 2018, marking a 7.72 percent increase. The average A&D wage of $92,742 was 1.36 percent more than in 2017, and the 2018 figure was 87 percent higher than the average US worker’s wage.

The AIA will present initial numbers for 2019 in the fall.