Alabama to see surge in construction, aerospace staffing


Alabama to see surge in construction, aerospace staffing
Alabama to see surge in construction, aerospace staffing

With the announcement that France's Airbus - the largest airplane maker in the world - plans to build a new manufacturing plant in Alabama came the news that the construction project will create about 2,500 new construction jobs, Reuters reports.

According to the news source, the airplane assembly plant will cost Airbus about $600 million, and will create an immediate 400 to 500 full time jobs once production begins, slated for sometime in 2017. The move is expected to bring several major aerospace suppliers to the region, further expanding the economic effect of the plant.

Although the assembly phase is a comparatively small component of the aerospace manufacturing sector, Airbus hopes the new U.S. facility will help it win more assembly deals from U.S. suppliers.

"I think we became American with this," said Airbus sales chief John Leahy. "Even if we have been spending $12 billion a year in the U.S. and have 40 percent of our procurement in the U.S., that doesn't quite make you American in the way an assembly line does."

The company said the plant could potentially create as many as 5,000 new jobs in Mobile and in the surrounding cities, as such a large operation will likely have enough gravity to attract several other smaller, supporting companies.

Analysts believe Airbus' move could provide a much-needed stimulus in the Gulf Coast region, and will likely have a huge impact on the U.S. aerospace industry. Aerospace engineering staffing will likely pick up, as demand for innovative parts increases as manufacturing of Airbus' innovative A320 begins on American soil.

"It makes all the sense in the world for Airbus to be here," said David Hess, president of United Technologies Corp's Pratt & Whitney unit. "We're glad they are here."

Airbus' decision to move into America comes as many aerospace manufacturers and suppliers have expressed concern over a dearth of skilled aerospace engineers. According to a recent survey conducted by the Manufacturing Group, companies are having the most difficulty finding engineers that can quickly and accurately navigate multiple sources of information, find best practices, sure approvals of permissions and other tasks.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of aerospace engineers is expected to grow 5 percent in the ten years between 2010 and 2020.