The nation's employment picture may look a little shaky, but that doesn't appear to be the case at U.S. seaports. Quite the opposite, in fact: Ports nationwide have been creating jobs and strengthening the economy.
Port-related activities were responsible for 8.4 million American jobs and nearly $2 trillion in economic output in 2006, according to a new report by the economic consulting firm Martin Associates. Nearly 7 million of those jobs were in companies that have some connection to imports and exports, such as retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, distributors, and logistics companies. The study, "The Local and Regional Economic Impacts of the U.S. Deepwater Port System, 2006," was based on port-specific economic-impact models combined with updated export and import cargo statistics.
On average, the study found, portsector workers today earn about $50,000 annually. That's $13,000 more per year than the National Average Wage Index, as computed by the Social Security Administration.
The study also reported that businesses that provide goods and services to U.S. seaports either directly or indirectly paid $314.5 billion in total wages and salaries. Furthermore, port-sector businesses generated nearly $2 trillion in business revenues and the value of the goods and services they provided.
"Compared to the last study we developed in 2000 (based upon 1999 data), these figures indicate a significant increase in the financial benefits that the port industry provides the American economy," says Dr. John C. Martin, president of Martin Associates. "This new report shows that port-related activities are contributing to the economy in record numbers."