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The Economic Force of the Plastics Industry

A recent SPI Study confirms that plastics is one of the U.S.’ major industries.

 by Karen M. Koenig
Editor-in-Chief

It may be trite, but it’s definitely true. The plastics industry is indeed a growing economic force in the United States.

Evidence of this is in the record attendance at the recent NPE show, the high number of exhibitors
  
  State No. Emp.
 
1 California 138.0
2. Ohio 121.0
3. Michigan 107.0
4. Illinois 104.5
5. Texas 98.0
6. Pennsylvania 82..0
7. Indiana 74.0
8. New York 70.5
9. New Jersey 55.5
10. Wisconsin 50.5
11. N. Carolina 50.0
12. Massachusetts 45.0
13. Georgia 43.4
14. Tennessee 38.0
15. Minnesota 32.5
16. Missouri 32.0
17. Kentucky 31.3
18. Florida 30.4
19. S. Carolina 26.2
20. Virginia 25.0
21. Connecticut 23.1
22. Iowa 20.1
23. Arkansas 19.6
24. Alabama 17.8
25. Washington 17.6

 

  
   State Billions $
 
1 Texas 31.5
2. California 24.2
3. Illinois 22.1
4. Michigan 21.3
4. Ohio 21.3
6. Pennsylvania 15.3
7. Indiana 12.6
8. New Jersey 12.1
9. New York 12.0
10. Georgia 11.0
11. N. Carolina 9.7
12. Wisconsin 8.5
13. Massachusetts 8.3
14. Louisiana 7.8
15. Kentucky 7.3
16. Tennessee 6.5
17. Missouri 5.3
18. Florida 5.2
18. Minnesota 5.2
20. S. Carolina 5.0
21. Virginia 4.6
22.. Connecticut 4.5
23. Iowa 3.3
24. Alabama 3.1
25. Arkansas 3.1

Source: SPI

 
at the 10th annual SPE Thermoforming Conference, and the growing desire to attract plastic fabricators to what has been traditionally considered to be “woodworking” shows. Two examples are the upcoming IWF 2000 and the emergence of Plast Fab 2000, to be held in conjunction with the Midwest Industrial Woodworking Expo this fall.

A recent study by the Society of Plastics Industry Inc. adds further proof to this theory. According to the SPI’s Plastics Industry Economic Report, the plastics industry accounted for 1,525,600 U.S. jobs in 1999, with the employment rate growing 4.4 percent annually since 1994. A 10-yearcomparison of the employment rate compared to other industries shows that while plastics grew at an average of 2.7 percent annually, overall manufacturing actually decreased by -0.1 percent.

According to the study, which was conducted for SPI by Probe Economics, California and Ohio lead the nation in terms of plastics industry employment (see chart). Although each state in the nation has at least one operating plastics facility, the top 25 states account for 90 percent of the total industry jobs.

Not surprisingly, many of these same states ranked in the top 25 with regards to shipments, accounting for 90 percent of the United States total (see chart). Nationally, 1999 shipments of plastics were at $303.6 billion, an increase of 6.2 percent over the previous year and a 35 percent increase since 1994. The dollar amount for shipments increases to $392.7 billion when you add in upstream supplier industries.

So what does this mean for the industry? To put it succinctly, wood (and metal) may be good, but plastic’s outlook is practically perfect.

 

 

 

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