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Study: Unmanned Aircraft Industry Poised To Create 70k New U.S. Jobs In Three Years

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) unveiled a new study, which finds that the unmanned aircraft industry is poised to create more than 70,000 new American jobs in the first three years following the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into U.S. national airspace system (NAS). Integration is scheduled to take place in 2015. Beyond the first three years, the study projects that more than 100,000 new jobs will be created by 2025.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for an industry developing technology that will benefit society, as well as the economy,” said Michael Toscano, president & CEO of AUVSI. “Integrating UAS into the national airspace will lead to new and expanded uses, which means the creation of quality, high-paying American jobs.”

Specifically, the study finds:

  • In the first three years following integration into the NAS, more than 70,000 new jobs will be created.
  • In the first three years following integration, the total economic impact stemming from the integration is projected to surpass $13.6 billion and will grow sustainably for the foreseeable future, cumulating in more than $82.1 billion in impact between 2015 and 2025. Economic impact includes the monies that flow to manufacturers and suppliers from the sale of new products as well as the taxes and monies that flow into communities and support the local businesses.
  • The study projects integration will lead to 103,776 new jobs nationally by 2025. Many of these jobs are portable and will gravitate toward states with favorable regulatory structures and infrastructure. Future events – such as the establishment of FAA Test Sites – will ultimately determine where many of these new jobs will flow.
  • Additional economic benefit will be seen through tax revenue to the states, which will total more than $482 million in the first decade following the integration.
  • Every year that integration is delayed, the United States loses more than $10 billion in potential economic impact. This translates to a loss of $27.6 million per day that UAS are not integrated into the NAS.

“While we project more than 100,000 new jobs by 2025, states that create favorable regulatory and business environments for the industry and the technology will likely siphon jobs away from states that do not,” wrote the report’s author, Darryl Jenkins, a past professor at George Washington University and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

Nationally, the precision agriculture industry is expected to be the largest market for UAS technology, the AUVSI study finds. UAS will help farmers monitor crops and distribute pesticides, which could not only help improve efficiency, but also reduce the total amount of pesticides sprayed, saving money and reducing environmental impact. The public safety sector is another area that will benefit from the tremendous potential for UAS technology. UAS have the capability to help police and firefighters— who put themselves into harm’s way every day to protect the communities they serve—do their job safely and efficiently.

The report was commissioned by AUVSI and developed by Jenkins, an aviation industry economist with more than 30 years of experience. Jenkins is the author of the Handbook of Airline Economics and previously served as the director of the Aviation Institute at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

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Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager. In September 2012, she transitioned to a new role dedicated to developing online content for Business Facilities and Today's Facility Manager. Schwartz can be reached at [email protected]

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