OEA Report Shows What States, Counties Are Attracting Defense Dollars

OEA Report Shows What States, Counties Are Attracting Defense Dollars

Defense spending on contracts and payroll accounted for 8.5 percent of Virginia’s gross domestic product, making it the top ranked state by that metric in fiscal 2016. Virginia was followed by Hawaii (7.6 percent), Alaska (5.5 percent), Maryland (5.2 percent) and Alabama (5.2 percent) in the ranking of states by defense spending as a portion of their economies. On average, defense spending accounted for 2.2 percent of all states’ GDP in FY 2016. Virginia also ranked highly in absolute terms for attracting defense dollars, coming in second, with $42.7 billion, behind California, at $48.8 billion; Texas came in third for total defense spending with $33.3 billion.

Almost 60 percent of total defense spending, $378.5 billion, went to 10 states.

Those rankings are included in the latest analysis of defense spending by state prepared by the Office of Economic Adjustment. By highlighting states’ reliance on military installations and contractors, the report can be used “to assess potential exposure to fluctuations in defense spending and to target assistance to create more resilient communities and companies,” according to its executive summary. The listing for each state shows the top defense contractors and ranks the top 10 counties by contract spending, personnel spending, and number of active-duty and civilian personnel.

Two states, California and Connecticut, account for half of the top 10 counties for attracting defense contract spending:

  • Fairfax County, Va. — $9.9 billion
  • San Diego County, Calif. — $8.4 billion
  • Los Angeles County, Calif. — $6.2 billion
  • Madison County, Ala. — $5.4 billion
  • Santa Clara County, Calif. — $5.3 billion
  • Louis County, Mo. — $5.2 billion
  • King County, Wash. — $5.1 billion
  • New London County, Conn. — $4.8 billion
  • Fairfield County, Conn. — $4.4 billion
  • Orange County, Fla. — $4.0 billion


Photo by Steve Earley


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