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ANNUAL REPORT2021 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. For a more in-depth understanding of these highlights, download the full report.

*The 2022 Facts & Figures Report will be published and available at the end of September.

Table of Contents

State of the Industry

In 2020, commercial aviation ground to a near halt as the world contended with the massive challenges generated by COVID-19. The defense sector also faced headwinds as a patchwork of government mandates and restrictions complicated operations. As a result, the shared A&D supply chain had to overcome immense financial and logistical hurdles to support existing defense sector contracts and replace lost civil sector sales.

Defense Sector

The defense sector continues to help stabilize the overall industry as its government customers maintain their national security missions and take steps to strengthen the shared supply chain with crucial resources, including cash flow.

Civil Aviation

The recovery of commercial aviation—and the American economy—is slowly underway. Even with vaccinations increasing, risks remain. The fragile nature of recovery is outlined in depth throughout the impact report.

Rebuilding from the Impact of COVID-19

The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our industry is extraordinarily difficult to quantify due to its wide-ranging impacts. Currently available statistics demonstrate the influence this unprecedented event had on the aerospace and defense workforce and the industry’s economic footprint.

Creating Jobs


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2.09M Workers

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$218.6B in Compensation

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$59B Tax Contributions

2020 Workforce Graph

Job loss is one of the most critical economic indicators of 2020, and the U.S. aerospace and defense industry was not immune from the declines in employment.

Air travel slowed to a near halt; the demand for new aircraft and maintenance, repair, and overhaul services evaporated; and facilities were forced to temporarily close in accordance with government health orders. Consequently, the industry saw a net loss of more than 87,000 employees, a 4% decline when compared to 2019 industry employment.

Despite the impacts of the pandemic, our workforce remained nearly 2 million strong in 2020, with A&D industry jobs representing 1.4% of all employment in the United States.

Wages and Benefits 41% Higher Than the National Average

In 2020, the industry paid out $218.6 billion in compensation, or roughly 2% of total U.S. labor income.

A&D Workers Supported Their Communities in Times of Crisis

The industry’s combined tax contribution totaled $59 billion nationwide. Additionally, AIA member companies have publicly donated at least $500 million to pandemic-related causes, plus thousands of volunteer hours.

Supporting the Economy


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1.8% of Total U.S. GDP

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18.8% of Non-Food Manufacturing Revenue

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$874B in Total A&D Industry Sales Revenue in 2020

2020 Industry Sales Graph

Though suffering significantly from the pandemic, the industry continues to boast impressive contributions to the American economy.

In 2020, the A&D industry’s sales activity contributed 18.8% of all non-food manufacturing revenue in the nation. Additionally, the industry accounted for 1.8% of total U.S. GDP, a figure of around $382 billion.

Industry Sales Revenue

Mirroring the impacts to our workforce, the industry’s revenues experienced a decline in 2020. Between 2019 and 2020, the total industry revenues dropped 2.8% to $874 billion, with the supply chain feeling a far greater burden at a loss of more than 3%.

Leading Trade Activity


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$40.6B Trade Balance Value

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$90B Total Exports

U.S. A&D Trade Balance 2010-2020 Graph

Despite seismic shifts in trade values, the A&D industry maintained its positive trade balance at a value of $40.6 billion. While nowhere near the $79.4 billion trade balance achieved in 2019, A&D retained its status as a leading export industry for the United States.

A&D Exports Dropped to $90 Billion

A&D exports dropped by $57.5 billion, or 39%, from 2019. Despite the significant impact of COVID-19 on U.S. A&D trade, A&D exports still accounted for 6.3% of all U.S. exports in 2020.

The Industry’s Top Trade Partners

The leading export destinations in 2020 were Germany, France, Canada, the U.K., and Japan. The leading import destinations were France, Canada, the U.K., Germany, and Japan.


Tracking State Data

In 2020, the industry supported jobs and communities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

A&D Economy Impact by State

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

See the Full Report

For the full picture of how the industry performed, explore the comprehensive Facts & Figures report.


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