Mobile Navigation

Business & Economics

View Comments

ACC guide profiles the business of chemistry and its economic impact

| By Scott Jenkins

The American Chemistry Council (ACC; Washington, D.C.; published the 2023 edition of its Guide to the Business of Chemistry, comprehensive profile of the U.S. chemistry industry and its contributions to domestic and global economies.  

American chemistry is the world’s second-largest producer, providing 11% of its chemicals and over 10% of all U.S. goods exports. It is one of America’s largest manufacturing industries, a $639 billion enterprise providing 555,000 skilled, high-paying jobs. For every chemistry industry job, more than six jobs are supported elsewhere in the economy. Industries that rely on chemistry include building and construction, automotive, computers and electronics, medical equipment and supplies, furniture, household appliances, agriculture, and many more.

The chemical industry is also a leader in capital investment, with more than $26 billion in new spending in 2022. These investments include projects to expand capacity in order to meet growing demand and make industry operations more sustainable.

“In addition to investing in sustainable manufacturing operations, the chemical industry makes significant contributions to making other sectors more sustainable through innovative products, including chemistries for battery storage technologies, photovoltaics, and direct air capture of carbon dioxide,” said Martha Moore, ACC’s chief economist. “Year after year, the Guide shows that chemical industry capital expenditures into developing sustainable solutions continues to expand and grow. In a recent survey, ACC members reported that 25% of their capital budgets are allocated to sustainable manufacturing.”

This year’s Guide to the Business of Chemistry includes a new section examining the importance and impact of regulations. Chemical manufacturing is the most heavily regulated subsector of manufacturing with more than one million restrictions in place that apply directly to our operations, a total that has doubled in the past 20 years. On top of this, there are a great number of planned rules targeting chemical manufacturing that will increase the compliance costs by 50%, bringing the annual compliance costs for our industry up to roughly $4 billion a year.

Prepared annually by ACC’s Economics and Statistics Department, the Guide to the Business of Chemistry divides the U.S. chemical industry into a dozen categories, ranging from inorganic chemicals to plastic resins, coatings and other specialty chemicals, and fertilizers to consumer products. Within each segment, the report highlights distinct characteristics including recent growth trends.

Individual sections of the guide cover a variety of topics in detail. These include financial performance; U.S. and global trade; innovation; capital investment; employment; environmental, health and safety statistics; regulation; energy; and distribution. Charts and graphs illustrate data and provide comparisons with the past several years.

The 2023 Guide to the Business of Chemistry is available on ACC’s website