Firearm Industry Employment Increases Despite Pandemic Downturn

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posted on March 24, 2021
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The number of people employed by the firearm industry increased by 10,000 in 2020, in stark contrast to the vast majority other industries that suffered widespread layoffs and unemployment during the global onset of COVID-19. The figure is part of the findings in the “Firearm and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report—2021,” released last week by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Gun companies did not cut corners when it came to administering the strict safety protocols and procedures that ensure the health and welfare of staff members in the workplace, either. Ruger, for example, told investors in its quarterly earnings report that it spent $3.6 million to protect its staff last year. The measures include a bonus for those employees who receive a vaccine, and additional paid time off.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures put the firearm industry’s workforce increase into perspective. The agency estimated that during 2019, prior to the pandemic, the “unemployment rate fell to lowest level since 1969” at 3.5 percent. Four months after COVID-19 hit U.S. shores it issued a startling statement.

“The unemployment rate in April 2020 increased by 10.3 percentage points to 14.7 percent. This is the highest rate and the largest over-the-month increase in the history of the data (available back to January 1948). The number of unemployed persons rose by 15.9 million to 23.1 million in April.”

The economy is recovering from the pandemic’s onset, but BLS figures indicate that unemployment remains high. On March 5, the agency released the latest numbers. Unemployment stands at 6.2 percent. That’s 2.7 percent fewer people with jobs today than in 2019, yet the firearm industry workforce has increased substantially.

The 10 states that saw the largest increase in firearm industry employment in 2020 include—in descending order—Vermont, Nevada, Rhode Island, Wyoming, South Carolina, Tennessee, Hawaii, Delaware, Utah and North Dakota. Texas, California and Florida remain the top three in the total number of people employed by the gun-related companies.

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