Vital Statistics

We saw a MARAD REPORT in July’s MARINE LOG. “Shipbuilding vital to U.S. economy,” is how the report began.

“The U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry is a vital part of the U.S. economy, supporting $ 36 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to a recent U.S. Maritime Administration report.

“According to the report, ‘Economic Importance of the U.S. Shipbuilding and Repair Industry,’ more than 300 U.S. shipyards directly provided some 107,000 jobs, $ 7.9 billion in labor income to the national economy and contributed $ 9.8 billion in GDP in 2011. Additionally, the average income for these industry jobs, $ 73,000, is 45 percent higher than national average. On a nationwide basis, including direct, indirect, and induced impacts, the industry supported 402,010 jobs, $ 23.9 billion of labor income and $ 36 billion in GDP …

“Shipbuilding jobs have a big effect on the wider economy, notes SCA (Shipbuilders Council of America). According to the study, each job in private shipbuilding and repair supports another 2.7 jobs nationally. Each dollar of labor income in the shipyard sector leads to another $ 2.03 in labor income in other parts of the economy, and each dollar worth of goods and services leads to another $ 2.66 in the wider economy.

“SCA President Matthew Paxton, says, ‘MarAd’s report clearly demonstrates how this industry is vital to both our national and economic security.'” –

Imagine that! 107,000 jobs in 300 shipyards! And each job supports another 2.7 jobs nationally. And they’re bragging! When we were engaged in World War II, a similar number of U.S. shipyards were employing more than 4 million workers and each worker was supported by 16 outsiders.
Well, that’s what happens when a foundering, but formerly dynamic industry can only brag about building “towboats, tugs, seismic vessels, OSVs, MPSVs, Coast Guard Cutters, patrol craft, subsea vessels and barges”. But those aren’t ships, by the way, those are boats. Boats. Coastal vessels that generate profits for just a handful of the elite.

The only ships being built by our “vital” yards are warships – warships that generate handsome profits for certain of the elite in the military-industrial complex.

In neither case, however, does John and Jane Doe see one thin dime.

We need to build ships again. Then and only then will our shipyards be vital to the national economy – those 300 boatyards just don’t cut the mustard. U.S. shipbuilders are in an enviable position because of our patented container ship and container yard designs. A quick transformation and each and every one of those 300 “shipyards” would then “directly provide” 107,000 jobs.