Canadian Plastics

U.S. plastics production since COVID-19 recession should continue to bounce back, report says

Plastic products manufacturing in the U.S. in October 2021 increased 20.2 per cent from the end of the COVID-19 recession in April 2020, according to the Plastics Industry Association.

December 1, 2021   Canadian Plastics

Plastics production in the U.S. has expanded since the COVID-19 recession ended in April 2020, new figures from the Plastics Industry Association show.

“Plastic products manufacturing in October 2021 increased 20.2 per cent from April 2020 – the end of the COVID-19 recession,” said Perc Pineda, PhD, the Washington, D.C.-based association’s chief economist. “On a quarterly basis, plastics production expanded 4.2 per cent in Q3 2021 and 5.9 per cent from a year earlier, based on estimates from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.”

And from the looks of it, plastics production will also expand in Q4 2021, Pineda continued. “While production edged down 0.6 per cent from September, it increased 4.0 per cent from October last year,” he said. Plastics and rubber products shipments in September increased 0.6 per cent from August and 6.2 per cent from a year earlier. Retail trade and food services sales, which use plastics products and packaging, were off to a good start in the final quarter of the year, Pineda said, increasing 1.7 per cent in October from September and 16.3 per cent from October last year. “With the largest shopping season of the year on the way, expect a pick-up in sales,” he said. “[We] forecast a 12.3 per cent increase in retail sales (excluding food services) compared to last year,” Pineda said. “This should lead to an increase in plastics shipments in Q4 2021 and an increase in production and finished goods inventories for Q1 2022.”

The Plastics Industry Association is also forecasting a 3.3 per cent increase in plastics production this year compared to 2020.


Overall, the pandemic has negatively affected the American economy’s output since the COVID-19 recession started in February 2020, Pineda noted. “While the COVID-19 recession ended in April 2020, the U.S. continues to emerge from a pandemic that has displaced millions of workers, exposed supply chain weaknesses, and created materials shortages. Along with the obvious challenges imposed by the pandemic on manufacturing, weather-related headwinds this year led to plastic materials and resin shortages,” he said.