By John S. McClenahen Totaling 689,000 people at year-end 2002, employment in the U.S. aerospace industry has reached its lowest point since 1953. Working from U.S. Labor Department data, the Arlington, Va.-based.-based Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) figures that aerospace employment has fallen by 106,000 people since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S., and by 642,000 since the end of the Cold War in December 1989. The decline stems from the current financial troubles in U.S. civil aviation and commercial space businesses, industry mergers and acquisitions, and the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, says John W. Douglass, AIA's president and CEO. He says the employment statistics should serve as a call to action to revitalize the U.S. aerospace workforce. Douglass was a member of a federal commission on the future of the U.S. aerospace industry that last year called for development of a national plan to make long-term investments in math and science education, and to encourage students to seek careers in aerospace.