Measuring how space creates jobs and prosperity on Earth

Measuring how space creates jobs and prosperity on Earth [Dec/2023]

Space is becoming ever more important to life on Earth – from managing climate change to responding to emergencies to digitalising the economy. To help policymakers and businesses take informed decisions about investing in space, ESA has today published plans to create robust and reliable data on the space economy, in collaboration with international partners.

The increasing importance of space means that demand for reliable and timely statistics on the space economy has grown. To meet this demand, ESA has worked with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Commission’s Eurostat and Joint Research Centre, and the US Department of Commerce and its Bureau of Economic Analysis.

ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher said, “For too long, the increasing contribution that space makes to economic growth has been obscured in the official statistics. Creating statistical codes to flag space-related elements will reveal the full extent of the space economy and enable economists and policymakers to identify exactly how space creates prosperity on Earth.”

The space economy goes well beyond launchers, spacecraft and satellites – it includes space-derived products and services, such as the satellite communications and navigation on which many economies, people and devices rely.

Both direct contributions – such as mining the metal used to build a satellite – and indirect contributions – such as the value added by keeping people connected while in remote regions – are included, as well as people who work in the space industry spending their wages. The space economy can extend to unexpected places – space innovations pop up in medicine, health, environmental monitoring, farming, transport and manufacturing.

The tables of codes will enable economists to identify, for example, the value added by the creation of an electronic chip that uses Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system and is later inserted into a person’s mobile phone or car, without considering the overall value of the mobile phone or the car in the space data

The codes cover areas including: manufactured goods; information and communication services; professional, scientific and technical services; construction; public administrative and defence services; education; transport and storage; financial and insurance services; and arts, entertainment and recreational services.

The tables build on work started by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, which published the first attempt to create a set of accounts for the American space economy in 2020, and on a two-year cooperation project between ESA, Eurostat and the Joint Research Centre.

The work consists of three strands: defining the space economy for statistical purposes that is internationally consistent; developing the methodology for the construction of the European space economy thematic account at the national and aggregated European levels; and combining the results obtained while fine-tuning and testing them, which is still ongoing and will be published in due course.

Please find the full publication from the 15 December 2023 by ESA, Eurostat and the JRC together with the OECD and the U.S. BEA on the first-ever comprehensive list of statistical codes to measure the space economy at the international level, for the United States of America and for Europe, here.

Please find the complimentary publication of the methodology of the European Thematic Account here.

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