NORFOLK--Following a year to forget, with the threat of sequestration, government shutdown, layoffs and furloughs, things are looking up for the Virginia Shipyard industry in 2014. In fact, the Commonwealth was just named the top state in the country for shipyard jobs, with more than 63,000 people working in the ship construction and repair trades.
The American Maritime Partnership and the Shipbuilders Council of America rated Virginia number one, far ahead of the second place state, California, with its 37,000 jobs. The report says the jobs in Virginia translate into more than $5.5 billion in annual economic impact to the Old Dominion.
"It is a good story because it continues to remind Virginia how significant ship building and ship repair are to this economy, said bill Crow, president of the Virginia ship Repair Association.
Crow says he is concerned about continuing reports of planned defense cuts, including a threat from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to possibly cancel the planned mid-life overhaul and nuclear re-fueling of the USs George Washington.
"I hope that the United States of America realizes that 90 percent of all goods and services that are provided are moved upon the sea," said Crow. "And part of the reason ha that movement occurs is because of the security and the strength of the Navy. And we've got to be sure our Navy remains strong and we maintain an active ship-building program. And that we continue to maintain those assets out there so they can continue to sail the seven seas and to keep them secure."