Aviation Gives Oklahoma Economy $9 Billion Lift

Aerospace in central Oklahoma supported 73,000 jobs and pumped almost $9 billion into the economy in 2005, according to a study released Friday by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

The study, by Oklahoma State University economist Mark Snead, said there were at least 265 government and private aerospace employers in central Oklahoma. Aviation and aerospace accounted for 4.7 percent of the total employment in the 10-county region.

Through Tinker Air Force Base and the Federal Aviation Administration, the federal government and military provided 31,600 of the 38,000 direct jobs in aerospace in central Oklahoma, the report said.

Tinker, the state's largest single-site employer, has more than 26,000 workers, while the FAA's Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center employs 5,600 people. Together they have a payroll of $1.5 billion, with average salaries of $48,000.

"Both of these places are extremely important not only in the state, but nationally," Snead said. "They are really two tremendous assets that we maybe don?t appreciate to the extent we should."

Roy Williams, the chamber's president and chief executive officer, said the chamber wanted to get a fuller picture of the region's aerospace sector beyond its large government employers.

"People know Tinker and the FAA are here, but they tend to think the whole aviation sector is government," Williams said. "They are the two big ones, but they contract with a number of private companies, too."

Williams said the study also will give education and work force development professionals the data to continue their involvement in training future workers.

"We have some great service providers like Rose State College and CareerTech," he said. "We need to keep that active engagement with employers to make sure that the pipeline of workers is there in the long term."

Average salaries across the whole aerospace sector in central Oklahoma topped $49,660. That compares with a state average of $29,720 and a regional average of $32,050 in all other industries.

"The aviation and aerospace industry is an important economic driver for the region," said former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys, vice chairman of aviation and aerospace at the chamber. "And with recent developments like the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Technology Center next to Tinker and the ARINC hangar at Will Rogers World Airport, it continues to grow and thrive."

Using an economic modeling system called multipliers, analysts can estimate the total economic effects of particular industries. Workers and companies spend money on goods and services, which in turn supports more jobs in the community. The aerospace sector's high wages, capital requirements and use of highly skilled labor help give it a higher multiplier than many other industries, the report said.

In central Oklahoma, aerospace and aviation had a total impact of 73,600 jobs, resulting in economic output of $6.1 billion and payrolls of $2.85 billion, the report said.

Snead is working on a second report that will detail specific jobs and the relationships among local aerospace companies and their suppliers in central Oklahoma.



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