After declining in 2020, the US plastics industry shows growth in 2021


The US plastics industry is expected to show growth in 2021 after a pandemic-related decline in 2020.

According to Perc Pineda, chief economist with the Plastics Industry Association in Washington, plastic shipments to the United States are expected to increase 2.2% in 2021. Pineda spoke on September 21 in a webinar announcing the publication of the Annual Size & Impact report of the association. By comparison, shipments were down 0.9% – to $ 394.7 billion – in 2020.

“Security and healthcare are expected to experience stable demand,” Pineda said. “The demand for outdoors, home and garden is expected to increase, and the demand for food packaging is expected to be stable. ”

Pineda added that a strong holiday season could improve the industry’s results for 2021.

In a press release, Plastics Industry Association President and CEO Tony Radosewski said the COVID-19 pandemic “has been a tough test for the plastics industry, but it has proven our sustainability. and our resilience as data continues to demonstrate our positive impact on North America. economy.”

The report contained many other data points, including a drop in the number of people employed by the U.S. plastics industry in 2020.

Total industry employment for 2020 was 945,300, down almost 6% from 2019. The number of plastics industry locations also declined to 12,783, a decrease of less 0.5% compared to 2019. Pineda said these declines were probably the result of consolidations, acquisitions. and the “increasing internationalization” of the industry.

Among individual states, Texas led the way with 70,500 plastics jobs, just ahead of Ohio with an almost similar number. California was third in this category, followed by Michigan and Illinois.

Based on density, Indiana leads the country with 50.6 plastics jobs per 1,000 non-farm jobs, followed by Michigan and Wisconsin.

Ohio and California each ranked first in two job categories in the plastics industry. Ohio is home to nearly 15 percent of jobs in plastic machinery and nearly 8 percent of jobs in plastic products. California led plastic wholesaling with 11.5% of jobs and captive plastic production with 9%.

Among other job categories, Texas accounted for 20.5% of jobs in materials and resins, and Michigan 19.3% of jobs in plastic molds.

By 2022, Pineda said plastic shipments to the United States could see growth of 2.9%, although the market may be affected by a shortage of workers that is affecting many other industries as well.

He added that the US industry hasn’t seen much tangible impact from bag bans or other challenges for single-use plastics. Bag companies actually increased their capital spending by more than 30% in 2020, Pineda said.

“If there was a negative impact from bag bans, you would see bag manufacturers spending less, not more,” he added. “Plastic bags are a difficult item to replace because they are better for the environment than other products.”

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