The U.S. chemical sector is wrapping up a solid year of growth in most key measurement areas, and the next five years are shaping up to be equally robust, according to the American Chemistry Council's annual Situation and Outlook report.
The chemical sector's output expanded 2.0% this year despite softness in key export markets and adverse weather conditions. And that annual growth figure is expected to hover between 3.7% and 4.8% from 2015 to 2019, the according to the ACC's report.
Employment for the U.S. chemical manufacturing sector is up 1.2% to 802,000 for 2014, and hourly wages are up 0.7% to $21.52. Moreover, both of these key workforce statistics are predicted to continue growing steadily over the next five years, with employment reaching 838,000 and hourly wages $24.70 in 2019.
Key macroeconomic factors that will affect the U.S. chemical sector's performance over the next few years include oil prices and scattered global recessions, according to this report from Chem.Info:
The big surprise this year, explains Dr. Thomas Kevin Swift, chief economist and managing director of ACC, is the impact of recessions in countries such as Japan, EU nations and Brazil.
According to the report, "Basic chemicals (inorganic chemicals, petrochemicals, plastic resins, synthetic rubber and man-made fibers) … were the hardest hit by economic slowdown in other nations, despite improving demand from important customer markets such as light vehicles and housing."
"The other surprise is the collapse of oil prices," Swift says.
The oil-price decline is counteracting the impact of the global recessions, propelling the chemical sector forward both by decreasing manufacturers' feedstock costs and by improving consumer confidence, according to the Chem.Info report.