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Deloitte: US Global Aerospace and Defense Exports Continue to Slow

Sector exports supported 1.42 million jobs as growth slows to 1.1 percent in 2016.

NEW YORK, May 11, 2017 — After a robust 60 percent surge from 2010 to 2015, growth in US aerospace and defense (A&D) exports have slowed, according to Deloitte's “2017 US aerospace and defense sector export and labor market study.”

Although A&D comprised approximately 10 percent of total US 2016 exports and grew $2.5 billion, the rapid growth seen over the past years decelerated from 4 percent in 2015 to 1.7 percent in 2016.

“The slower pace of growth is due to a decline in export financing, the strengthening of the US dollar, and global competition,” said Robin Lineberger, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and global and US aerospace and defense sector leader. “While American-manufactured A&D products remain attractive to foreign customers, US exports are more costly in the international market. Global competitors increased proficiency in manufacturing A&D products; and competitive currencies and lower labor cost will continue to press US A&D export growth in the coming years.”

A&D sector exports remained a major contributor to overall US exports, adding approximately $85 billion to the positive trade balance in 2016 and making A&D the top contributor to the US trade balance among major sectors.

The US A&D sector is one of the top employers to the US economy, supporting 4.1 million direct and indirect jobs at approximately twice the national wage rate. While sector employment has fallen over the last five years, the rate of decline has tapered off, from 2.2 percent in 2014 to 0.3 percent in 2016.

“The Budget Control Act of 2011 likely affected the defense subsector and largely contributed to the decline in overall A&D sector employment over the past five years,” added Lineberger. “Productivity continues to grow as process automation and robotics increasingly replace traditional labor, and companies improve efficiencies through consolidation and M&A activity.”

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) significantly declined in 2016 by 28 percent or $13 billion breaking a three-year growth trend. However, 2017 may be a significant growth year for US FMS, driven by helicopter, missile, and other military sales to the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions. While commercial aerospace exports have outpaced both direct commercial defense exports and FMS, on a combined basis, defense exports and FMS have represented a significant portion of overall US A&D exports. Their contribution could exceed 40 percent of total exports in the next two years.

About Deloitte
Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including 80 percent of the Fortune 500 and more than 6,000 private and middle market companies. Our people work across more than 20 industry sectors to deliver measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to make their most challenging business decisions with confidence, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthy society.

Media contact:

Courtney Flaherty
Public Relations
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