Virginia leads country in number of U.S. shipbuilding jobs

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Virginia ranks No. 1 among the states in number of U. S. shipbuilding jobs. 

Recent studies showed Virginia with 63,650 shipyard jobs, far above any other state, with California coming in second with 37,140 jobs.

Those numbers were announced Thursday by the American Maritime Partnership (AMP), which joined with the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Rep. Rob Wittman (R-1st District) and Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-3rd District) to highlight new data that spotlights Virginia as the top domestic maritime state.

The industry includes vessel operators, marine terminals, shipyards, and workers engaged in the movement of cargo exclusively within the U.S.

A recent study by the U.S. Maritime Administration, covering commercial and military ship construction, found a $5.5 billion annual economic impact in Virginia as a result of the jobs.  The report said more than $3.9 billion in worker income is attributable to Virginia’s shipyard industry. Overall, one out of every 90 Virginians has a job directly or indirectly related to the shipyard industry, according to the report, with shipyard jobs paying about 45% above the national average for private sector employment.

Another study, this one for the Transportation Institute by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), ranked Virginia No. 10 among all states in per-capita jobs related to the entire domestic maritime industry.

Across the country the industry sustains more than 478,000 jobs and has an annual economic impact of $92.5 billion, according to the PwC study. The industry also accounts for about $29 billion in annual wages and $10 billion in tax revenue each year.

“Ensuring national security and a strong economy means providing budget certainty and stability for the shipbuilding and ship repair industry,” Kaine said in a statement. “From Newport News Shipbuilding, to Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and private shipyards across Virginia, the shipbuilding industry helps develop a highly skilled workforce, provides thousands of jobs, and benefits the Commonwealth’s economy.”

The politicians noted that the U.S. shipyard industrial base in Virginia and across the nation is vital to America’s national and economic security. Private U.S. shipyards build, repair, maintain and modernize the largest Navy and Coast Guard vessels in the world as well as the nation’s 40,000 commercial vessels. "Hampton Roads is home to generations of highly skilled shipbuilders, who build and maintain the most advanced ships in the world,” said Rep. Scott  “They are an important part of the shipbuilding industrial base, and they make critical contributions to our economic security and national defense."

Domestic maritime cargo originating in Virginia totals more than nine million tons each year. Domestic maritime cargo transported into Virginia totals more than 6 million tons each year.

Annually, more than 2.5 million tons of petroleum products originating in Virginia are transported by ship to other American states. In addition, Virginia brings in more than 2.2 million tons of petroleum products from other states.

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