Aerospace Sector Faces Uncertainty and Devastating Cutbacks

While the US aerospace industry contributed $87 billion in export sales to the American economy in 2011—up 12 percent after declining during the previous two years—the future of this sector is clouded by Congress’ failure to address deficit reduction, said Marion Blakey, Aerospace Industries Association president, Wednesday. “Our industry is a leading job creator, a technological innovator . . . and provides the critical advantage in our nation’s security,” said Blakey in remarks at AIA’s annual year-end review and forecast luncheon in Washington, D.C. She added, “We simply cannot allow it to be diminished by draconian cuts.” The industry brought home a positive trade balance of $57.4 billion in 2011, the largest trade surplus of any manufacturing sector, she noted. While aerospace employment will see a slight increase this year, the Budget Control Act’s sequestration cuts could cost the aerospace sector dearly in the years ahead, with projected job losses in the hundreds of thousands, not to mention the additional layoffs in related support industries, she said. “The jobs impact will be devastating,” asserted Blakey. “That’s the loss of real jobs that are here today and, in this economy, that is unthinkable.”