ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With another solid financial performance in 2010, the aerospace industry has again demonstrated its vital importance to the U.S. economy.
"Aerospace 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," 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 association'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.
"While still off from our high in 2007," Blakey said, "this increase hopefully marks the bottoming-out of the recent decline in orders."
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 industry'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.
"Losing jobs is never good," said Blakey, "but when viewed in the context of the overall business environment, our workforce is holding its own."
"Job retention and growth is on everyone's mind these days," Blakey added. "This 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."
Expressing concern about the headwinds created by pressure to trim the nation's deficit, Blakey said that the severe cuts in defense advocated by some of the various deficit-elimination study groups are dangerous.
"The United States' security relies on maintaining our defense technological advantage. Additionally, if we don't sustain the investment in the industrial base, opportunities for good jobs will dwindle," said Blakey. "These men and women support more than two million middle-class jobs across all 50 states, and are the muscle – and heart – of the American economy."
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Founded in 1919 shortly after the birth of flight, the Aerospace Industries Association is the most authoritative and influential trade association representing the nation's leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military and business aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aircraft systems, space systems, aircraft engines, missiles, homeland and cybersecurity systems, materiel and related components, equipment services and information technology.
SOURCE Aerospace Industries Association