After the pounding of the Great Recession, the U.S. plastics industry experienced steady growth in 2012, according to two new reports from the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. (SPI)
“While the nation's employment began improving in 2013, the plastics industry has been steadily recovering since the 2008-2009 recession,” Washington, D.C.-based SPI said. “The latest figures indicate that plastics industry employment in 2012 included 892,000 people in 15,949 facilities across the country. The industry kept pace by growing 0.1 percent per year from 1980 to 2012, which is better than manufacturing as a whole.”
Plastics manufacturers shipped more than US$373 billion in goods and invested more than US$9.6 billion on new capital equipment in 2012, SPI also said.
An in-depth data analysis of the plastics industry's 2012 performance globally and in the U.S. is detailed in the newly released reports titled, "The Definition, Size and Impact of the U.S. Plastics Industry," and "Global Business Trends, Partners, Hot Products."
"Plastics continue to rank higher than the rest of the U.S. manufacturing sector's key growth areas," William R. Carteaux, SPI's president and CEO, said in a statement. "The industry has remained highly competitive by finding innovative solutions and efficiencies, as well as by expanding its international reach to new markets."
Also reflecting the improving U.S. economy, apparent consumption of plastics industry goods grew 5.7 percent from US$237.6 billion in 2011 to US$251 billion in 2012.
The U.S. industry is gaining ground over other world markets due to its abundant new sources of natural gas via shale. "Use of natural gas by U.S. manufacturers reduces the cost of energy and feedstock creating a competitive advantage considering that most resins used in Europe and Asia are made from oil-based feedstock," Carteaux said.
While the U.S. trade surplus was US$13.1 billion, Mexico and Canada remained the U.S. plastics industry's largest export markets. The industry exported US$13.6 billion to Mexico and US$12.5 billion to Canada. China is the industry's third largest export market, SPI said.
The two new SPI economic reports are available free of charge for members and for US$395 each for non-members.