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Jobs in US aerospace, defense sector seen up 3.2 pct in 2016

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 - 22:19

[WASHINGTON] The US aerospace and defense industry is poised to add 39,443 jobs in 2016, an increase of about 3.2 per cent and the first job growth in the sector in five years, according to a study by Deloitte.

The anticipated growth will be driven by a rebound in the US military market, which lost about 185,000 jobs over the last five years due to budget cuts and the drawdown of military forces in the Middle East, the report said.

The Pentagon's plan to add US$13 billion to its fiscal 2016 budget will help drive a 3.7 per cent increase in jobs in the defense part of the sector, while low oil prices and strong travel demand should boost employment in the commercial sector by 1.8 per cent, the report said.

Employment in the overall aerospace and defense sector fell an estimated 0.8 per cent in 2015, compared with a drop of 1.1 per cent a year earlier, the report said. Overall, employment in the sector had dropped 9.4 per cent since 2010, it said.

"The US aerospace and defense sector continues to be one of the top employers in the US economy, even with the five-year decrease in total employment," Tom Captain, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and aerospace and defense leader, said in a statement accompanying the report.

"A return to growth will be healthy for innovation, product development and game-changing technology creation - a cornerstone of this industry," he said.

The study showed that the aerospace and defense sector directly employed 1.2 million workers in 2014, and another 3.2 million workers who supported the industry in nearby communities.

Deloitte said the defense subsector had contributed heavily to the decline in the overall sector, shedding 18 per cent of jobs since 2010. But that decline was partially offset by job growth of 17 per cent in the smaller commercial aerospace sector.

The report said seven states accounted for half of all US aerospace and defense sector employees: California, Washington, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Connecticut and Kansas.

REUTERS