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Defense Contract Spending Declines $66 Billion from Fiscal Year 2009 to 2015

The map below shows defense contract spending by MSA from FY 2000 to 2015. The circles are proportional (i.e., they are scaled to the value of defense contracts in that MSA). Beginning in FY 2001, the color of each circle indicates whether defense contract spending in the MSA declined (red) or increased (green) from a year earlier. The map can be manually advanced or will advance automatically when you click on “Play.”

The table below the map shows DoD contract spending in the top 100 MSAs and updates each time a new fiscal year is selected. The map informs the following question categories:

  •         Which MSAs are the largest recipients of DoD contract spending?
  •         In which regions is DoD contract spending concentrated?
  •         In which MSAs is DoD contract spending increasing/decreasing from the prior year?

For example, the map shows DoD contract spending surges in the Washington, D.C. MSA from FY 2000 to FY 2010 when spending climbed from $8.0 billion to $39.5 billion before declining beginning in FY 2011.

To learn more about Chmura’s expertise and research regarding defense spending and supply chain mapping, contact us here.

  • DoD Contract
    by MSA
  • 2000

Top 100 MSAs by DoD Contract Spending
Rank MSA Spending in
Source: Chmura Economics & Analytics

Department of Defense (DoD) contract spending grew at a strong pace in the first decade of the 21st century, but has been in decline since fiscal year (FY) 2010 based on Chmura’s proprietary FedSpendTOP data.[1],[2] Spending peaked at $336.7 billion in FY 2009 and has since fallen by 19.6% to $270.7 billion in FY 2015.[3] Contributing to the decline was the Budget Control Act of 2011 (sequestration took effect in 2013) and the drawdown of U.S. forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. Defense Contract Spending in Nominal DollarsU.S. Defense Contract Spending in Nominal Dollars

The impact of defense contract spending cuts has been and will continue to be uneven across regions and states. This analysis shows which metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) have been most impacted by defense contract spending cuts. At the aggregate level, some of the largest MSAs have seen the most dramatic cuts from fiscal year 2009—the peak nationally of DoD contract spending—to fiscal year 2015, which is the most recent fiscal year of data available. On a per capita basis, however, the 10 largest declines in defense contract spending were experienced in MSAs with populations of less than 500,000.

While the Washington, D.C. MSA—home to the headquarters of several large defense contractors including Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman—experienced the largest drop in defense contract spending ($6.5 billion) from FY 2009 to 2015, on a per capita basis the decline was only $1,072; this was the 31st largest per capita decline in defense contract spending among the MSAs. Defense contract spending fell $2.3 billion in the New York metropolitan area from FY 2009 to 2015; this, however, only represented a loss of $116 on a per capita basis.

In contrast, a $2.3 billion decline in the Oshkosh MSA represented a loss of $13,378 per person, the largest per capita decline among all MSAs over this period. The Oshkosh MSA is home to the Oshkosh Corporation, a military vehicle manufacturer, which has reduced its workforce in response to declining defense contract spending.

From FY 2009 to 2015, defense contract spending decreased by $301.9 million or $2,891 per capita in the Lima, Ohio MSA; the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, a government-owned, contractor-operated tank production facility in Lima operated by General Dynamics Land Systems, has experienced a production hiatus as the Army shifts production from the M1A2 Abrams fleet to the M1A3.      

The labor market impact of defense contract spending cuts can vary widely depending on the type and nature of the defense contract spending. Every industry in the area will have a different economic impact based on the size of its local supply chain and the spending spillover from its directly employed workers. It stands to reason, however, that these spending cuts, as steep as they are, can be a driving force to upset labor markets in many of the nation’s MSAs, both large and small.

Defense Contract Cuts by MSA, FY 2009 to 2015
MSA Total Defense Contract Cuts FY 2009 to 2015
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA -$6,534,964,135
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ MSA -$4,540,569,745
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA MSA -$4,334,692,207
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI MSA -$2,930,431,025
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA MSA -$2,338,177,154
Oshkosh-Neenah, WI MSA -$2,268,233,215
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI MSA -$2,238,919,430
New Orleans-Metairie, LA MSA -$2,159,563,955
York-Hanover, PA MSA -$2,016,694,563
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH MSA -$1,779,815,870
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN MSA -$1,717,377,395
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN MSA -$1,664,995,187
Memphis, TN-MS-AR MSA -$1,620,314,173
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX MSA -$1,488,712,685
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX MSA -$1,391,688,781
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT MSA -$1,359,347,332
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI MSA -$1,140,970,964
El Paso, TX MSA -$1,112,974,753
Bellingham, WA MSA -$966,597,640
Charleston-North Charleston, SC MSA -$910,442,557


Defense Contract Cuts per Capita by MSA, FY 2009 to 2015
MSATotal Defense Contract Cuts FY 2009 to 2015$ Cut per Capita
Oshkosh-Neenah, WI MSA -$2,268,233,215 -$13,378
York-Hanover, PA MSA -$2,016,694,563 -$4,554
Bellingham, WA MSA -$966,597,640 -$4,553
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI MSA -$1,140,970,964 -$3,564
Lima, OH MSA -$301,908,063 -$2,891
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL MSA -$725,869,109 -$2,769
Watertown-Fort Drum, NY MSA -$300,052,222 -$2,551
Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL MSA -$287,665,595 -$2,488
Fort Wayne, IN MSA -$852,247,912 -$1,983
California-Lexington Park, MD MSA -$213,631,915 -$1,917
New Orleans-Metairie, LA MSA -$2,159,563,955 -$1,710
Anchorage, AK MSA -$591,040,245 -$1,478
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD MSA -$248,450,379 -$1,470
Roanoke, VA MSA -$450,132,483 -$1,431
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN MSA -$1,717,377,395 -$1,343
El Paso, TX MSA -$1,112,974,753 -$1,327
Binghamton, NY MSA -$323,305,058 -$1,314
Columbus, GA-AL MSA -$410,919,789 -$1,310
Bangor, ME MSA -$192,447,838 -$1,260
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL MSA -$713,521,119 -$1,256


Defense Contract Gains by MSA, FY 2009 to 2015
MSA Total Defense Contract Gains FY 2009 to 2015
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA $2,003,699,292
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA MSA $1,713,789,488
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD MSA $1,054,626,982
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT MSA $803,582,514
Pittsburgh, PA MSA $803,508,009
Norwich-New London, CT MSA $777,377,637
Mobile, AL MSA $679,625,713
Portland-South Portland, ME MSA $575,384,923
Amarillo, TX MSA $513,600,860
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA $415,749,550


Defense Contract Gains per Capita by MSA, FY 2009 to 2015
MSA Federal Contract Gains 2009 to 2015 $ Gains Per Capita
Norwich-New London, CT MSA $777,377,637 $2,859
Pittsfield, MA MSA $301,455,515 $2,358
Amarillo, TX MSA $513,600,860 $1,960
Mobile, AL MSA $679,625,713 $1,636
Lynchburg, VA MSA $326,223,707 $1,255
Portland-South Portland, ME MSA $575,384,923 $1,093
Pine Bluff, AR MSA $85,602,563 $914
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT MSA $803,582,514 $848
Idaho Falls, ID MSA $91,296,319 $653
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA $2,003,699,292 $568
Source: Chmura Economics & Analytics and U.S. Census Bureau
Note: July 2015 population estimates used to calculate cuts and gains per capita.


[1] The U.S. federal government’s fiscal year begins on October 1 of the previous calendar year and ends on September 30. For example, FY 2001 began October 1, 2000 and ended September 30, 2001.

[2] FedSpendTOP data are derived from USASpending.gov data but provide a more accurate picture of federal spending based on the time and place of performance when compared with published federal awards data. The data are adjusted for the length of the contract as well as for an associated subcontract’s place of performance (i.e., regional spending is based on place of performance with out-of-region awards subcontracted into the area added in and in region awards subcontracted out of the region subtracted out); FedSpendTOP data also include purchases by non-DoD agencies which end up in DoD products and have been corrected for errors identified during Chmura’s quality control process.

[3] In nominal dollars (i.e., not adjusted for inflation).

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