Although the U.S. aerospace and defense sector experienced a handful of down years between approximately 2014 and 2017, the industry began bouncing back shortly after, due to increases in defense spending among various nations and a strong export market. The latter factor received particularly strong emphasis in a recent report by the Aerospace Industries Association, which identified that 2017’s exports brought in $143 billion. This represented 9 percent of total American exported goods.
Somewhat oddly, the total economic output generated by U.S. aerospace and defense actually dropped 1 percent in 2017, amounting to $865 billion as opposed to 2016’s $873.5 billion. However, industry figures don’t appear to be concerned by the small dip, noting instead that the sector’s positive trade balance was $86 billion. No exporting sector of American trade brought in as great a trade surplus.
“While the U.S. experienced the third-largest trade deficit on record, our industry … effectively [reduced] the U.S. trade deficit by 10 percent,” the AIA stated in its report.
The trade organization also believes that 2018 will be an even better year for aerospace and defense.
SpaceNews did report some concerns among industry figures regarding the potential effects of various trade disputes in which the U.S. is currently engaged. These began with the White House’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports intended to galvanize the American metals industry, and provoked some retaliatory tariffs from China, the European Union and various individual nations. Currently, however, the aerospace and defense sector has much to look forward to.