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Guest: Dr. Jay L. Zagorsky; Topics: U.S. space economy output is actually shrinking, space economy definitions and analysis, government statistics on the space economy, space industry jobs and pay, national security space and more.
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We welcomed Dr. Jay L. Zagorsky to the program for a discussion about the U.S. space economy output which is shrinking when adjusted for today’s inflation. I posted an article by Dr. Zagorsky on The Conversation on this topic which I urge listeners to read as it is an excellent supplement to our detailed discussion. The title of his article is “New Data reveal US space economy’s output is shrinking – an economist explains in 3 charts.” During our discussion we addressed the topics discussed in this paper plus we had good listener email questions/commentary as well as to the point phone calls. In addition, once again I direct your attention to the tags for this program as they fairly summarize the multiple topics, we addressed on the program though not all the topics have been highlighted in this summary. I have repeated the tags below for your convenience.
Tags: Dr. Jay Zagorsky, macroeconomist, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, gross domestic product, space economy, space economy components, gross output, inflation adjustments, satellite TV, radio and space education declines, satellite TV goes to streaming, space economy 20% decline from 2012-2021, smaller average growth rates, space employment declines, space pay increases, U.S. Space Force, workforce comparisons to Amazon and Walmart, competition in space, China, ESA, SpaceX, Boeing, Raytheon, space mining, Mars mission, pizza explanation, research markets, lessons learned, national security, satellite drones, why space is essential, regulatory risk, human spaceflight economic component, startup markets, reusability impact, cislunar growth, military impact, space stations, OECD, investment risk, resource value in space, tech development economics.
Among the topics that stood out for me included the definition of the space economy used by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. It included four parts such as that which is used in space, rockets, supporting infrastructure for travel, items with direct input from space plus space education. These parts are broken down and further defined by our guest on air and in his published article. I thought the components were broad based and that some areas were left out such as R&D in space and human spaceflight. Later in the program our guest was asked about the human spaceflight component. Make sure you hear his comment. Let us know what you think of the definition and if you found any surprises in it, including what he said about human spaceflight.
In addition, the discussion on the inflation adjustment requirement was key as many don’t talk about space economy numbers adjusted by inflation. I was not so sure of the adjustment factor which he said the Bureau tied to a specific tracked economic production number, but I think the important take away was the after inflation adjustment, not the specific index used to compute the inflation adjustment. Not how the inflation adjustment changes just about everything we have thought about when we consider a booming space economy.
Additional surprising factors were focused on satellite TV numbers and market share going down in favor of streaming. That surprised me. The same goes for satellite radio. Also, the decline in space jobs in the workforce but the increase in pay for the workers was surprising. It was a real attention getting to see his workforce comparisons with the space economy, Amazon and Walmart.
Listeners asked about the value of space resources for mining and development. Several questions focused on the consequences of the decline in terms of American remaining the main space power. Our guest had much to say about that and the need for American space leadership to prevail. Other national security questions came up, especially as we looked at the competition in space which is increasing with ESA, Russia, China and other players.
Please post your comments/questions for Dr. Zagorsky on our blog for this show. You can reach him through the Space Show or his faculty page at Boston University.