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Wed, Mar 05, 2003

Aerospace Employment Hits 50-Year Low in USA

U.S. aerospace employment has reached its lowest level since 1953, dropping to 689,000 at the end of 2002. Based on the latest data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the figure should serve as a call to action for a national plan to revitalize the aerospace workforce, according to Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO John W. Douglass. The workforce crisis facing the industry is accelerating, Douglass said, and the trend must be reversed before the future health of the industry is jeopardized.

Aerospace employment has dropped 106,000, or by 13 percent since September 11, 2001, and it has fallen by nearly half, or 642,000 since December 1989, a period that marks the end of the Cold War. Douglass said the workforce decline is the result of several converging factors: the crisis in civil aviation and commercial space business, industry mergers and acquisitions, and the September 11 attacks. He said the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry has called for an interagency task force to develop a national plan to make long-term investments in education in math and science and to encourage students to become part of the aerospace workforce.

Relief from regulation and lawsuits, or an upturn in the need for air travel, air transport, military aviation, space exploration and military/commercial development of space -- any of these factors would, of course, enhance workforce opportunities in the US aerospace/aviation businesses, as they are in, for instance, communist China.

AIA has named the workforce crisis one of its 'Top Ten Issues for 2003.'



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