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Plastics Industry is now 8th Largest in the U.S.


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The plastics industry is a key part of the American economy, accounting for an estimated $432 billion in shipments and over a million workers in 2019

The U.S. plastics industry accounted for an estimated $432 billion in shipments and 1,003,000 jobs last year, according to the 2020 Size & Impact Report, an annual publication of the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS).

Including its upstream effects, plastics industry employment grows to an estimated 1.5 million and shipments to $549.5 billion. PLASTICS provides these estimates based on the most recent, complete data from the previous year. 

At the state level, California’s plastics industry workforce is the most numerous at an estimated 79,700 workers in 2019. Ohio places second with 74,500 workers, and Texas third with an estimated 71,400. Indiana and Michigan feature the highest concentration of plastics industry workers, each with an estimated 16 plastics employees for every 1,000 non-farm workers.

“Plastic is one of the most advanced and useful materials humanity ever created, contributing to longer, healthier and better lives for people around the globe,” said Tony Radoszewski, President and CEO. “It’s also quite economically important to communities across our country.”

“To protect jobs as well as the environment, we at PLASTICS support domestic and international infrastructure improvements to reuse, repurpose and recycle more material. This would help to preserve and extend the benefits of plastic and plastic products, and create innovation, jobs and economic growth, important to the current recovery,” said Radoszewski.  

The 2020 Size & Report, from its Chief Economist Perc Pineda, PhD, also offers an outlook for the plastics industry and numerical forecasts for employment and shipments. It provides an analysis of the effects of COVID-19, providing three possible scenarios for the future of plastics, and shares more information critical to business-planning. 

“Plastics are vital, and in 2019, 79% of plastics products were used in some sort of personal consumption… toys, utensils, detergent bottles, motor vehicles, refrigerators, and more,” said Pineda. “Plastics for consumer essentials like food packaging, personal, and healthcare, will continue to see healthy demand.”

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