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U.S. plastics shipments, jobs rose in 2017: report

The U.S. plastics industry accounted for an estimate of $432.3 billion in shipments and 989,000 jobs in 2017, according to the 2018 Size & Impact Report, an annual publication of the Plastics Industry Association.


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January 10, 2019 by Canadian Plastics

The U.S. plastics industry accounted for an estimate of US$432.3 billion in shipments and 989,000 jobs in 2017, according to the 2018 Size & Impact Report, an annual publication of the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS).

Shipments increased by an estimated 6.9 per cent in 2017, the Washington, C.C.-based association said, while total employment increased 2.4 per cent in the same period.

At the state level, California remained the state with the most plastics industry employment, increasing from 77,000 workers in 2016 to an estimated 78,500 in 2017. Ohio came in second with 77,100 workers and Texas came in third with an estimated 76,800. Like last year, Indiana had the highest concentration of plastics industry workers, with an estimated 16.9 plastics employees for every 1,000 non-farm workers. Michigan was a close second, with 16.8 plastics employees per 1,000 non-farm workers.

“The fact that the industry continues to grow shows how effective these products are in their intended use,” said interim president and CEO of PLASTICS Patty Long. “We are calling on the 116th Congress to advance a stimulus package to help increase the domestic capacity for recycling plastics. This will help recover more material, increase jobs, and meet growing demand for recycled content while helping the environment by reducing the amount of plastics needlessly heading to landfills.”

Throughout, the report shows that the U.S. plastics industry remains a key part of the American economy and continues to navigate its way to growth and hiring despite the presence of several social, political and economic challenges. Furthermore, the report shows when suppliers to the industry are included, the employment total grows to an estimated 1.81 million and shipments grow to US$590.6 billion. Compared to 2016, this marks a 2.8 per cent increase in jobs and a 7.0 per cent increase in shipments.

“The fact that these figures grew so sharply in 2017 is a testament to the industry’s overall economic activity during that period of time, and to its ability to expand its impact into areas that might not occur to most,” said PLASTICS Chief Economist Perc Pineda, PhD. “The impact of the industry ripples out far beyond its government-defined borders.”

PLASTICS’s executive summary of the U.S. Size & Impact Report is available online at this link.