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IndustryNet Blog

U.S. plastics companies report continued sales, employment growth

Posted by IndustryNet on Thursday, July 6, 2017

100000061_lego-blocks-1649909_960_720Globalization and the rise of technology and automation have severely impacted the U.S. manufacturing sector over the past several years. Discussions surrounding manufacturing sometimes take a gloomy tone, citing job decline, factory closure and competition from foreign countries.

However, this trend doesn't represent the whole story. In fact, many manufacturing sectors are actually thriving.

One of these such industries is the plastics industry.

Sales rebound

Since the global recession in 2008-2009, the plastics sector has made a strong recovery and continues to be a major force driving employment, innovation and product sales. Much of this success can be attributed to the rise of shale gas development in the U.S., which has lead to a decrease in energy costs associated with plastic resin manufacturing and a shift in the competitive landscape for the plastics industry. Costs for manufacturing plastics are at an incredible low and sales are high.

According to IndustryNet data, 281 U.S. manufacturing plants generated a total of $1.3 billion in average sales in 2016, representing a 4.45% increase since the previous year, with growth seen mainly in the Northeast and Midwest. Currently, the majority of plastics manufacturing plants are located in the Midwest, representing 37% of all plants in the U.S.

Exports strong

Relatively inexpensive U.S.-manufactured plastics are in high demand across the globe, mainly in Canada and Mexico. More companies in the plastics industry have exported their products (42% of all plastics manufacturers) than in U.S. manufacturing as a whole (29% of all U.S. manufacturing companies).

Job growth

Demand for high-quality, yet inexpensive plastics has boosted the US economy and led to job creation. Employment in the plastics sector rose by 4.5% to 15,395 in February 2017, with growth seen mainly in the Midwest.

High sales and employment growth is also evident among multiple plastics sub-industries. Rotationally molded and vacuum formed plastics creation accounts for a third of the plastics industry's jobs. Similarly, 53% of the industry's job growth can be attributed to reaction injection molded and injection molded plastics, a plastics sub-industry where a mold is injected with thermoplastics and polymers to create a sturdy product.

There has been a 38.6% increase in injection molded plastic sales since April 2016, which accounts for roughly 16% of the industry's sales. This rise in sales was accompanied by a 21.8% increase in employment for plastics fabrication companies, such as Gateway Plastics of Wisconsin and Vaupell, Inc. of Seattle.

To learn more about the industry and to connect with additional U.S. plastics suppliers, see the list of plastic suppliers on IndustryNet, the industrial marketplace that connects industrial buyers and suppliers.

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