MARAD: U.S. Shipbuilding and Repair Industry is $36 Billion Important

Mike Schuler
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June 19, 2013

U.S. shipyard file photo

U.S. shipyards in 2011 directly and indirectly contributed $36 billion in gross domestic product to the U.S. economy, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) on the U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry.

Paul “Chip” Jaenichen, who has been Acting Maritime Administrator since David Matsuda stepped down, shared the findings of the report, titled The Economic Importance of the U.S. Shipbuilding and Repairing Industry, at the FuturePorts Annual Conference in Long Beach, California. The purpose of the report was to quantify the economic importance of the U.S. private shipbuilding and repair industry in 2011, in terms of employment, labor income, and GDP.

“Shipyards create quality jobs and support economic growth far beyond our nation’s ports and waterways,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This report shows that wherever you live across the country, Americans benefit from opportunities generated by the shipbuilding and repair industry.”

The report found that there are currently 117 shipyards in the United States, spread across 26 states, that are classified as active shipbuilders. There are also more than 200 shipyards engaged in ship repairs or capable of building ships but not actively engaged in shipbuilding, the report showed.

In 2011, the more than 300 shipyards directly provided more than 107,000 jobs, $7.9 billion in labor income to the national economy and contributed $9.8 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the report shows. In addition, the average income for these jobs ($73,000) is 45 percent higher than the national average. On a nationwide basis, including direct, indirect, and induced impacts, the industry supported 402,010 jobs, $23.9 billion of labor income, and $36 billion in GDP, the report says.

In 2011, the U.S had a GDP of $14,991 billion, according to data from the World Bank.

The report notes that although most shipbuilders are located in coastal areas, the direct and indirect economic benefits reach all 50 states. The state with the most private sector employment is Virginia with 26,730 jobs, followed by Louisiana and Mississippi with 12,970 and 10,100, respectively.

The report notes the U.S. shipbuilding industry has run a trade surplus in six out of the last ten years, with a cumulative trade surplus of $410 million over this period. The report also shows that from 2010 to 2012, deliveries of vessels of all types, including tugs and towboats, passenger vessels, commercial and fishing vessels, and oceangoing and inland barges, exceeded 1,200 vessels per year, reaching 1,457 vessels in 2011.

Let’s just hope this is all considered good.

Download: The Economic Importance of the U.S. Shipbuilding and Repairing Industry

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