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More Than 4.4 Million Jobs Supported By $565 Billion U.S. Chemical Industry

Dr. Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC

America’s chemical industry is a $565 billion enterprise directly providing more than half a million high-paying jobs across the United States, according to the 2020 edition of the Guide to the Business of Chemistry, released this week. Each one of these jobs helps create others – more than 4.4 million, in fact.

Prepared annually by ACC’s Economics and Statistics Department, the Guide highlights chemistry’s significant contributions to the U.S. and world economies. It divides the U.S. chemical industry into more than 30 categories of production, highlighting distinct features such as growth dynamics, markets, new developments, and other issues affecting each sector.

Individual sections provide detailed information about important topics including financial performance, U.S. and global trade, innovation, capital investment, employment, environmental and safety statistics, energy, and distribution.

Key findings for 2020 include:

  • American chemistry is the second-largest chemical producer by country, providing nearly 14 percent of the world’s chemicals
  • The chemical industry accounts for nearly 10 percent of all U.S. good exports, $136 billion annually, and is among the nation’s largest exporters
  • Chemistry provides 544,000 skilled, good-paying American jobs
  • For every job created by the business of chemistry, 7.2 are generated elsewhere in the economy, totaling more than 4.4 million jobs
  • American chemistry invested more than $10 billion in R&D in 2019

Despite ongoing trade tensions and the closure of national borders to help contain COVID-19, American chemistry remains in demand around the world. The industry has a large and growing trade surplus, reaching more than $35 billion in 2019. Trade is essential to the success of the U.S. chemical industry, and it benefits the broader economy as well. Access to global markets is critical for continued economic growth and job creation.

American chemistry’s contributions extend to the benefits enabled by our products. As we work together to address the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19, the products of chemistry have proved essential. ACC member companies are providing ingredients and materials for products such as hand sanitizers, disinfectants, personal protective equipment (PPE), and more. As a result, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security identified the U.S. chemical industry and its employees as critical to public health and safety and economic and national security.

The products of chemistry are crucial to meeting the needs of a growing global population. Innovation into new materials, applications and processes is key to sustainability and advances in human development. Through our investment in R&D, the U.S. chemical industry is helping to expand technological frontiers. Chemistry solutions will be needed to ensure a safe and plentiful food supply, clean air and water, safe living conditions, efficient and affordable energy sources, and life-saving medical treatments for people around the globe. The Guide to the Business of Chemistry is available to ACC members through ACC’s MemberExchange at no cost and to non-members for $750.00 through the ACC Store. To order and download an electronic version, click here.

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