Aerospace Industry Remains Strong Through Downturn

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 16 /PRNewswire/ --

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Aerospace industry sales will increase in 2009 and 2010, demonstrating the strength of the U.S. aerospace industry in today's weak economy, AIA announced Wednesday at its 45th Year-end Review and Forecast Luncheon.

"There are decreases in some aerospace categories," said AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey, "however, our projection for continued overall sales growth is a solid barometer that the aerospace industry boosts trade and generates thousands of high-paying jobs across the country."

AIA is reporting total aerospace sales in 2009 will be slightly more than $214 billion, a record for the sixth straight year. Military aircraft leads the growth curve while civil aircraft, missiles and the space sectors also posted increases.

While shipments continued to increase this year, orders and backlog are projected to drop, reflecting the continuing economic turmoil. AIA projects that sales growth will slow in 2011.

"It's tough to see that sales line ease off, but we don't think the dip will be too deep or last too long," said Blakey. "A game changer such as the Boeing 787 airliner, as well as pent up demand for environmentally-friendly and fuel efficient aircraft will reinvigorate the aerospace industry and drive demand for years to come."

"Bottom line," said Blakey, "the aerospace industry is sound and able to absorb some punishment from the economy.

Exports dipped 17 percent in 2009 and imports decreased 34 percent. However, the trade surplus remains a solid $54 billion, the largest of any manufacturing sector. Employment is forecast to drop two percent in 2009 to 641,100, the first decline since 2003.

The employment decline is not nearly as severe as in other industries, Blakey noted. Aerospace employment fell by four percent from last year to the third quarter of 2009, while jobs in manufacturing overall dropped by 11.7 percent.

Founded in 1919, the Aerospace Industries Association represents the nation's leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military, and business aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems, space systems, aircraft engines, materiel, and related components, equipment services, and information technology.

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