10 Facts about the U.S. Plastics Industry

Jan 15,2018
As far as American manufacturing goes, the plastics sector is among the most notable success stories, helping to lead the way in economic recovery. Injection molding remains a vital part of the U.S. economy and a source for hundreds of thousands of jobs. Below are 10 facts that show the continued success of the injection mold industry based on data compiled by the Plastic Industry Trade Association, the American Chemistry Council and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1. In the United States, the plastics industry is the third-largest manufacturing industry. And the outlook is strong, with everything from injection molding companies to 3D printing in high demand around the world.

2. The plastics industry isn’t just massive — it actually translates to jobs. The industry employs nearly 900,000 workers in the United States alone, making plastics a key building block within manufacturing and for the U.S. job force overall. And that’s just part of the story — when you include plastics suppliers the number goes even higher, with the entire plastics industry accounting for roughly 1.4 million jobs nationally.

3. Injection molding and plastic manufacturing facilities can be found throughout the country in all 50 states. In fact, there are nearly 16,000 facilities just in the United States.

4. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry. In 2012, plastics manufacturers shipped about $373 billion in goods.

5. In an encouraging sign that plastics manufacturers are optimistic about their industry, they spent upwards of $10 billion in 2012 on new capital equipment.

6. It’s worth the investment. Already, plastics manufacturers are enjoying a surge in activity on the consumer side. In fact, consumption of plastic products went up 5.7 percent between 2011 and 2012.

7. The success of American plastic manufacturing depends in part on global interest; the world relies on U.S. plastic manufacturing. The top three countries that benefit from American plastics by way of U.S. exports are Mexico, Canada and China.

8. It’s no secret that manufacturing as a whole has taken a beating in recent decades — especially during the most recent recession — but plastics is among the sectors that are actually growing. In the last 25 years, manufacturing has dropped an average of 1.4 percent each year, while plastics manufacturing has increased at an average annual rate of 0.1 percent.

9. When compared with manufacturing as a whole, the plastics industry actually enjoys a sizable trade surplus, logging $13.1 billion in 2012.

10. How much actual plastic does this translate into? The answer: tons and tons. Roughly 107.5 billion pounds of plastics and resins were manufactured in 2013 — an increase over the previous year’s 105.9 billion pounds.

By the numbers, the plastics industry is strong and only getting stronger, and it’s exciting to see how injection molding will continue to be a driver for the U.S. economy. As a leading injection molding company, First American Plastic is helping maintain a solid reputation for the plastic industry with high-quality customized products, products that are free of errors and reliable project completion rates.

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