OKC region continues to build aerospace industry

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 9:00 am

The State of Oklahoma and the Greater Oklahoma City region continue to build its aerospace industry according to the Greater Oklahoma City Region Aerospace Industry Survey and Economic Impact Assessment, a report being released this month by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and Region Track. From early aircraft testing and manufacturing to its more recent distinction as a major hub for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of aircraft, Oklahoma remains a key component of the U.S. aerospace infrastructure. The Greater Oklahoma City region serves as the center of aerospace activity in the state and continues to attract significant aerospace industry development.

“The aerospace industry in Greater Oklahoma City is an essential part of our economy, and it is an area where we are targeting additional growth,” said Kurt Foreman, executive vice president of economic development at the Chamber. “This report indicates that our economic development focus on strengthening the aerospace industry is a worthy investment for this region’s future.”

While aerospace activity is highly concentrated in Oklahoma County, aerospace companies are spread across all 10 counties in the region. These aerospace establishments in the region are divided into five major subgroups: government; maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO); air transportation; manufacturing, engineering and consulting; and other sectors, including aerospace education, aerial spraying and aerial photography.

The report benchmarks the current size and scope of these subgroups and evaluates the industry as a whole. An estimated 236 public and private sector establishments in the Greater Oklahoma City region are directly engaged in aerospace activity. These employers produce an estimated $4.9 billion in goods and services and employ more than 36,600 workers earning $2.7 billion in labor income in 2015. Oklahoma County is home to nearly two-thirds of the region’s aerospace employers, over 97 percent of the jobs, and more than 93 percent of the total output produced by the sector.

When examining the aerospace labor force, Oklahoma continues to rank among the top 20 states for the number of workers in most key aerospace occupations. Wages for many aerospace occupations in Oklahoma are competitive when compared to other states and reflective of the overall low cost of living in the state. Average labor income in aerospace is approximately $72,818 per worker in 2015. Income per worker in the industry is 36 percent higher than the overall average of $53,542 for all industries statewide and 30 percent higher than the $55,944 average for all industries in the 10-county Oklahoma City region.

The findings of the report illustrate an area often overlooked in other state-wide aerospace studies: The importance of large government installations and the diverse MRO infrastructure that characterize the aerospace industry in the state and the Greater Oklahoma City region. Federal contracts contribute to this area of success, and in fiscal year 2015, a total of $1.41 billion in federal contracts were issued in Oklahoma for aerospace-related goods and services. In the Greater Oklahoma City region, $1.19 billion in contracts are directly aerospace-related.

The effects of this powerhouse industry on the broader economy are significant––estimates indicate that the industry indirectly supports the jobs of an additional 31,000 works in the region earning $1.4 billion in income and the production of $3.3 billion in total goods and services. Through both the direct activity of the industry and spillover effects to the broader economy, establishments engaged in aerospace in the Greater Oklahoma City region support approximately 67,600 jobs, $4.1 billion in labor income and the production of $8.2 billion in goods and services in 2015.

The Chamber produces its Greater Oklahoma City Region Aerospace Industry Survey and Economic Impact Assessment every five years. View the executive summary online at www.greateroklahomacity.com/aerospace.