More than a ## million people in the United States are employed in the space industry, according to data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This level of employment has remained relatively stable throughout the first decade of the 21st century, never dropping below ##.
According to the Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies, there were ## Japanese space employees in 2007, the most recent year for which data was available. Japanese space employment declined sharply between 1998 and 2003, mirroring workforce reductions that occurred in the United States and Europe linked to the telecommunications industry.
By 2008, European space employment reached ## full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, which remains ##% lower than the near-historic high in 2001, when employment totaled approximately ## jobs with ##% annual growth. Space employment fell each year from 2002 to 2005, including a ##% decrease in 2005 when space employment fell to ## FTE employees. Beginning in 2006, growth resumed, with ##% employment growth in 2008.
Revenue growth among the largest European space companies in 2009 suggests that the European space industry will weather the current recession with only marginal impact on employment. For the European space workforce, 2008 was a year of growth as the industry continued to recover from a decline linked to the 2000–2001 downturn which impacted the global satellite communications industry. Leading Europe’s 2008 space employment growth were European spacecraft manufacturers, which also constitute its largest segment in employment terms. Employment among ground systems providers has historically accounted for roughly ##% of Europe’s space workforce.
Somewhat less transparent than U.S. private sector and civil space employment is the U.S. military space workforce. A number of nations besides the United States are developing military space capabilities, and the scope of military space theory has broadened in response to changing military doctrines, technological advances, and asymmetrical warfare.
NASA workforce dynamics driven by programmatic changes are complicated by demographic trends within the overall U.S. space workforce. Both NASA civil servants and the wider U.S. aerospace industry workforce can be characterized as mono-generational. Rather than being evenly spread out over a wide range of ages, much of the workforce is concentrated within a narrow age range.
In addition to U.S. private sector employment, the U.S. government employs a substantial base of civilian space workers. NASA is the primary government agency responsible for civil space activity, including human spaceflight. As of November 2009, NASA directly employed ## people, referred to as “civil servants.”
In light of the ongoing conversation in the American space community about ensuring a long-term human capital supply, The Space Report 2010 identifies ## occupations important to sustaining space-relevant skill sets in the United States, and assembles data on them from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While many of the people in these occupational categories work in industries other than space, together they comprise a key part of the labor pool from which space workers are drawn.
Space industry jobs stimulate the overall economy more than most other jobs because they offer higher salaries on average. Higher salaries provide professionals with more discretionary income to consume goods and services or reinvest in the larger economy. They also foster a larger tax base with which to make public investments.