WASHINGTON – A deep data dive into the plastics industry's 2012 performance shows continued, steady improvement since the 2008 recession, according to two new reports from the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
Released last week, "The Definition, Size and Impact of the U.S. Plastics Industry," and "Global Business Trends, Partners, Hot Products" attribute the plastics industry's continued growth to globally positive economic trends and low natural gas prices in the United States.
"Plastics continue to rank higher than the rest of the U.S. manufacturing sector's key growth areas," William Carteaux, SPI's president and CEO, said in a release. "The industry has remained highly competitive by finding innovative solutions and efficiencies, as well as by expanding its international reach to new markets."
Plastics industry employment in 2012 included 892,000 people in 15,949 facilities across the country with the industry growing 0.1 percent per year from 1980 to 2012, which is better than manufacturing as a whole, according to the reports.
More than $373 billion in goods were shipped and apparent consumption of plastics industry goods grew 5.6 percent from $237.6 billion in 2011 to $251 billion in 2012.
Investments in new capital equipment totaled more than $9.6 billion, according to SPI.
The reports attribute the continued, steady growth in U.S. plastics to the 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.
Both of SPI's economic reports are available free of charge for members and for $395 apiece for non-members. SPI will also hold a members-only webinar Thursday, Feb. 6, at 2 p.m. EST with Carteaux and Michael Taylor, SPI's senior director of international affairs and trade, providing analysis.