Rocket launches from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida create excitement and interest in the nation’s exploration efforts. But how does the space program and the Kennedy workforce impact the Space Coast and its surrounding areas?

The recently released Kennedy Economic Impact Report for Fiscal Year 2021 (Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021) reveals data about how much the center’s spaceport economy affects Brevard County and the state of Florida. The report is issued every two years by the center’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO).

“Launching rockets and exploring space is no longer a government-only endeavor,” said Center Director Janet Petro. “As a multi-user spaceport, Kennedy has more than 90 private-sector partners and nearly 250 partnership agreements. NASA is leading the way in fostering a commercial market in low-Earth orbit and opening up space to everyone, and that creates tremendous economic benefits here on planet Earth.”

Kennedy’s economic impact report shows that the 12,312 employees at the spaceport generated 27,004 Florida jobs through secondary rounds of spending by workers and suppliers.

“Even during the pandemic, Kennedy continued to be a strong contributor to the county and its surrounding areas,” said Matthew Wilson, supervisor of the Business Services and Cost Assessment Branch in the OCFO. “For example, spaceport operations had a direct economic impact of $2.89 billion in sales on Florida’s economy. Every dollar spent at Kennedy ultimately resulted in $1.82 back into Florida’s economy.”

Kennedy’s labor income is $2.03 billion, which translates to an economic output in Florida of $5.25 billion. A subset of the $5.25 billion sales activity includes labor and non-labor resources as income payments for the center’s productive efforts. In FY2021, the direct result was $1.51 billion in gross domestic product for Florida’s economy. Factoring in additional impacts, the spaceport ultimately generated a total of $2.77 billion for Florida’s economy.

“Our presence is definitely felt here on the Space Coast,” Wilson said.

Between 2019 and 2021, commercial launch providers increased their workforce by 2,744 jobs, representing a large growth spurt, even in challenging times.  

Wilson said the center remained consistent in growth and resiliency since the last report. For example, the average salary increased from $70,000 in 2019, to the current $78,000, representing increases across the board for Brevard County, the spaceport, state of Florida, and the United States.

“Growth at the center is amazing. We have several key partnerships, and the center is playing a pivotal role in that growth,” Wilson said.

Kennedy also adds value through its transient workforce, which includes construction workers, Florida Power and Light, Blue Origin, SpaceX, Boeing, and other businesses outside the center’s boundaries.

“Issuing this report is important because it is a great indicator as to how healthy our center is, and the growth of our economy,” Wilson said. “The strength of our economy reaches out beyond Kennedy and Brevard County.”

The Florida Institute of Technology’s economic department produced the report using data provided by the center to calculate the economic impact. Read the report here and download the economic impact scorecard here.