March 12, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International unveiled new economic data, which finds that the unmanned aircraft industry is poised to create more than 12,292 new jobs in California the first three years following the integration of unmanned aircraft systems into U.S. national airspace system.
Integration is scheduled to take place in 2015. Beyond the first three years, the study projects that more than 18,161 new jobs will be created in California 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. “In recent years, unmanned aircraft technology has grown remarkably and is already proving useful in a range of domestic applications. Integrating UAS into the national airspace will lead to new and expanded uses, which means the creation of quality, high-paying jobs in California.”
Specifically, the study finds:
- Based on the current UAS activity in California, the state is projected to create 12,292 new jobs in the first three years – from 2015 to 2017 – following the integration of UAS into the U.S. NAS. This number includes both direct and indirect manufacturing jobs.
- In the first three years following integration, the total economic impact to California is projected to surpass $2.39 billion and will grow sustainably for the foreseeable future, cumulating in more than $14.37 billion in economic impact by 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 California, which will total more than $82.03 million in the first decade following the integration.
The complete study, including state-by-state breakdowns of economic impact projections, is available at http://www.auvsi.org/econreport.
“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.
The study also found that the jobs created as a result of integration will be quality, high-paying positions. These highly skilled positions have starting salaries around $55,000 per year and many have the potential to increase to upwards of $100,000 or more per year.
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 sector 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. Darryl 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, D.C.