Lockheed Martin Boosting F-35 Job Creation Numbers, Report Finds

But the defense company said it uses common methods to determine direct and indirect job creation.

Stealth: Some still tinkering under the hood.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
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Jordain Carney
Jan. 22, 2014, 8:01 a.m.

The num­ber of jobs cre­ated by Lock­heed Mar­tin’s pro­duc­tion of the F-35 air­craft have been “greatly ex­ag­ger­ated,” ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased Wed­nes­day.

Lock­heed Mar­tin has touted the F-35 as the “single largest job cre­at­or” for the Pentagon, with an es­tim­ated 125,000 jobs across 46 states. But the Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tion­al Policy’s Wil­li­am Har­tung re­ports that the total num­ber of jobs cre­ated ranges from 50,000 to 60,000.

It’s not the first time the fight­er jet has been placed un­der a neg­at­ive spot­light. The Pentagon, the Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­ab­il­ity Of­fice, and oth­ers have cri­ti­cized the F-35 for its cost and safety is­sues.

Har­tung ref­er­ences stud­ies by the Uni­versity of Mas­sachu­setts and George Ma­son Uni­versity to get his lower es­tim­ate for jobs cre­ated. For every dir­ect job cre­ated by Pentagon spend­ing, 1.5 and 1.92 in­dir­ect jobs are cre­ated, re­spect­ively, ac­cord­ing to the stud­ies.

But Lock­heed Mar­tin es­tim­ates that for every dir­ect job cre­ated by F-35 pro­duc­tion, four in­dir­ect jobs are cre­ated, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, cit­ing the com­pany’s fig­ures that 32,500 dir­ect jobs have been cre­ated and 92,500 in­dir­ect jobs have been cre­ated, for a total of 125,000 jobs.

“This mul­ti­pli­er is far high­er than the ones gen­er­ated by oth­er stud­ies of Pentagon spend­ing,” Har­tung writes, adding that un­til the com­pany is more trans­par­ent about how it cal­cu­lates its jobs num­bers, they “can­not be con­sidered cred­ible.”

The re­port also cri­ti­cizes Lock­heed Mar­tin’s claim that F-35 pro­duc­tion cre­ates jobs in 46 states, not­ing that ap­prox­im­ately 70 per­cent of the jobs are loc­ated in five states, and that 11 states have few­er than a dozen jobs.

But Lock­heed Mar­tin is push­ing back against the re­port. Mi­chael Rein, a spokes­per­son for the com­pany, told Bloomberg that Lock­heed uses a 3-1 ra­tio on in­dir­ect-to-dir­ect jobs cre­ated, based on stand­ard meth­od­o­logy.

“This is an art more than a sci­ence,” he said, but he ad­ded that the fig­ures would be “con­ser­vat­ive” if world­wide jobs were in­cluded.

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