American chemistry: Growing the U.S. economy, providing jobs, enhancing safety

Have you used your cell phone today? Laptop? Drunk from a coffee mug, or worn a bicycle helmet? If so, you, along with millions of consumers around the world, have touched a product of chemistry.

96 percent of all manufactured goods are directly touched by the business of chemistry. From life-saving medical devices to airbags and solar cells, from child safety seats to clean drinking water, chemistry plays an essential role in the creation of groundbreaking products that make our lives and our world healthier, safer, more sustainable, and more productive.

Businesses and consumers also enjoy healthier and longer lives, thanks in part to remarkable innovations in chemistry. In fact, 17 percent of all U.S. patents are chemistry or chemistry-related.

But the contributions of the business of chemistry go beyond everyday household items. Chemistry is a driving force behind the growth and expansion of the U.S. economy, and the potential for future economic growth of our industry is exponential.

The business of chemistry is now an $812 billion enterprise. That’s more than the value of the apparel and footwear, computer, motor vehicle, and aerospace industries combined.

In addition, the chemistry industry provides nearly 800,000 skilled American jobs, which pay an average annual salary of $88,800, 45 percent higher than the average manufacturing pay.

It doesn’t end there.

For every job created by the business of chemistry, 7.5 are generated elsewhere in the economy, totaling nearly 7 million jobs. That’s more than enough jobs to employ the combined populations of Chicago, Philadelphia and Houston.

American chemistry supports nearly 25 percent of the U.S. GDP, provides over 15 percent of the world’s chemicals, and as the larger exporter in the U.S., accounts for over 12 percent of exports.

Our role is clear: the business of chemistry is the cornerstone of the economic future of the U.S.

Continued access to abundant supplies of natural gas from shale deposits continue to create a new competitive edge that is revitalizing the industry and making the U.S. the most attractive place in the world to invest in chemical manufacturing.

In the past few years, almost 200 chemical industry projects, representing $117 billion in potential U.S. investment, have been announced, including new plants, equipment upgrades, and efficiency investments. These investments could lead to more than 600,000 new jobs by 2023, and almost $250 billion in additional economic output in the U.S.

You can learn more about the business of chemistry and its contributions to the U.S. and world economies in ACC’s 2014 Guide to the Business of Chemistry, our most comprehensive resource profiling the economics of this growth engine industry.

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