AIA PRESS RELEASE
With another solid financial performance in 2010, the aerospace industry has again demonstrated its vital importance to the U.S. economy.
â€œAerospace has produced solid results, including a new sales record for the seventh straight year, leading all manufacturers in trade surplus and providing a sense of stability amidst the chaos of economic upheaval,â€ said AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey.
In her remarks to more than 300 members of the news media, government and industry at the associationâ€™s 46th annual Year-end Review and Forecast Luncheon, Blakey cited a preliminary total aerospace sales figure of $216.5 billion.
Aerospace orders made a strong bounce back into positive territory, increasing 20 percent over 2009.
â€œWhile still off from our high in 2007,â€ Blakey said, â€œthis increase hopefully marks the bottoming-out of the recent decline in orders.â€
Space sales have remained largely static this year. With minimal growth projected for the NASA budget through 2015, opportunities for more substantial growth will likely come from international customers. Developing a more diverse customer base will help the U.S. maintain a strong industrial base, as well as strengthen relationships with strategic partners, Blakey noted.
Rising imports and falling exports led to a five percent drop in the industryâ€™s trade balance, but the surplus of $53.3 billion is still the strongest of any manufacturing industry. Employment declined for the second straight year, but at a much slower rate than initially projected.
â€œLosing jobs is never good,â€ said Blakey, â€œbut when viewed in the context of the overall business environment, our workforce is holding its own.â€
â€œJob retention and growth is on everyoneâ€™s mind these days,â€ Blakey added. â€œThis is why AIA and our member companies continue to impress on Congress and the administration the need to invest in the Next Generation Air Transportation System. Improvements to transportation infrastructure benefit a wide swath of American life, from business and tourism to law enforcement, crisis response, freight shipment and family cohesion.â€
Expressing concern about the headwinds created by pressure to trim the nationâ€™s deficit, Blakey said that the severe cuts in defense advocated by some of the various deficit-elimination study groups are dangerous.
â€œThe United Statesâ€™ security relies on maintaining our defense technological advantage. Additionally, if we donâ€™t sustain the investment in the industrial base, opportunities for good jobs will dwindleâ€ said Blakey. â€œThese men and women support more than two million middle-class jobs across all 50 states, and are the muscle â€“ and heart â€“ of the American economy.â€