Chemical Industry Growth Remains Sluggish

Sept. 25, 2012
The U.S. chemical sector grew for the third-straight month in September.

The U.S. chemical industry faces “sub-par” economic growth heading into 2013 as the overall economy continues to struggle, the American Chemistry Council said Tuesday in its monthly economic report.

The chemical sector grew for the third-straight month in September. The Council’s Chemical Activity Barometer showed a 0.3% growth over the previous month.

The uptick in growth follows a trend demonstrated in 2010 and 2011 where the industry achieved strong gains in the fourth quarter before slowing down and eventually declining through the next nine months.

“At ACC, we’ve compared this situation to the old Charlie Brown comic strip where Lucy holds the football for Charlie but at the last moment as he goes to kick it, she removes it,” said Kevin Swift, the Council’s chief economist. “Just as the first quarter discussion about economic recovery is finally gaining traction, the proverbial football -- the recovery -- disappears, hence the ‘Charlie Brown’ effect.”

One of the more positive signs comes from construction-related chemical products. Growth in plastic resins, coatings and other construction-related chemical-based products signals a rebounding housing market.

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