As researchers on MIT’s Labor Aerospace Research Agenda (LARA), we began our work with many questions. Are other nations—like the United States—facing a “demographic cliff” as their aerospace workforce’s age? What strategic decisions are other countries making to insure adequate skills and competencies? How are offsets affecting employment levels? Are American job losses in aerospace matched by job gains elsewhere?
As it turns out, just determining the size of the global aerospace workforce has proved far more complicated than we imagined, although the initial data—and the questions they raise—suggest that this is an important undertaking. The impact of the September 2001 terrorist attacks and the accompanying U.S. economic slowdown will affect the workforce numbers and should influence industry trends dramatically.