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ANNUAL REPORT 2022 Facts & Figures: U.S. Aerospace & Defense

Each year, AIA tracks the changes in the U.S. aerospace and defense industry. Among the metrics measured are employment rates, economic output, trade statistics, and state data. Key findings are highlighted here for an at-a-glance view of how the industry fared through the year.

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State of the Industry

In 2021, the aerospace and defense (A&D) industry continued to recover from pandemic losses while navigating additional economic, legislative, and regulatory challenges. Despite the headwinds, the A&D industry made progress investing in its workforce, generating economic growth, advancing innovation, and enabling national security.

Creating Jobs


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2.1M Workers

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$224B in Compensation

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Wages 40% Higher Than Average


At the heart of the A&D industry is its workforce, powering the recovery of air travel, designing more sustainable aviation technologies, providing cutting-edge defense and deterrence capabilities, and developing the systems that will further space exploration. Even when facing challenges, the 2021 A&D workforce stood at more than 2.1 million strong, with employees in every state in the U.S.  Jobs supported by the A&D industry represent approximately 1.4 percent of the nation’s total employment base. Although still in recovery, the A&D workforce increased by approximately 6,000 employees in 2021.

Wages and Benefits 40% Higher Than the National Average

These are highly skilled, good-paying jobs, with an average salary of over $106,700, about 40 percent above the national average. In 2021, the industry paid out $224 billion in compensation, or roughly 1.8% of total U.S. labor income.

Supply Chain Employees Account for 57% of A&D Workforce

More than 57 percent of employment comes from the shared A&D supply chain, an extensive network of suppliers composed of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses.

Workforce Makeup by Sector

The majority of the industry’s direct employment is through the commercial aerospace sector, with a 57 percent share, while defense and national security make up the remaining 43 percent. Across the four subsectors of the A&D industry, aeronautics and aircraft is the largest employer, directly supporting almost 575 thousand jobs. The land and sea systems subsector is the next largest with about 148 thousand workers. Another 79 thousand workers represent the space subsector, while about 89 thousand are employed in the cyber subsector.

Supporting the Economy


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1.7% of Total U.S. GDP

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$391B in Economic Value

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$892B in Total A&D Industry Sales Revenue in 2021

Exports Data

Despite the inflationary pressure and continued pandemic recovery, the industry’s workforce generated $892 billion in combined sales in 2021, a 2.1 percent increase from the prior year. That is promising news for America, as every million dollars in end-use sales supports more than four employees across end-use manufacturing and the supply chain. Additionally, the A&D industry generated $391 billion in economic value, which represented 1.7 percent of total nominal GDP in the US.

Leading Trade Activity


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$51.5B Trade Balance Value

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$100.4B Total Exports


A key component to workforce success is industry’s global leadership in innovation and exports of aircraft and aerospace products. In 2021, A&D industry exports rose by 11.2 percent to a total value of $100.4 billion.

The Industry’s Top Trade Partners

From sustainable aviation technologies to defense systems, partners around the world trust American companies to provide the best capabilities at the best value. The leading export destinations in 2021 were France, Canada, Brazil, the U.K., and Singapore. The leading import destinations were France, Canada, the U.K., Germany, and Japan. In 2021, the U.S. A&D industry exported to 205 countries, a testament to industry’s role in America’s economic success and reputation as a global leader in innovation.


Tracking State Data

In 2021, the industry supported jobs and communities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

A&D Economy Impact by State

Review the 2021 employment rates, industry revenue, value added, and tax receipts for your state in our annual state data report.

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