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SPI Report CoverThe plastics industry in the U.S. is booming.

This is the message found in the Plastics Industry Trade Association’s (SPI) annual report Size and Impact of the Plastics Industry on the U.S. Economy. The report uses comprehensive 2014 data to show how plastics production has influenced the nation’s economy in the past year. Additionally, state specific data on plastics production, employment, and dollars grossed highlight areas of greatest impact.

Plastics in the U.S.

According to the report, U.S. plastics are largely used in manufacturing, with a recent uptick in I.T. and healthcare. Approximately 940,000 jobs are attributed to the plastics industry. This figure includes the 573,000 working in plastic production, those in industries supporting plastic production, and indirect jobs (those working for an industry that subsequently supplies the plastics industry).

There are over 16,000 plastics facilities in the U.S. in all 50 states. This industry has seen consistent growth since 1980, with a steady 0.3% increase in employment. Such consistent growth is unusual, emphasizing the impact of the industry on the U.S. economy. Additionally, 2014 was the highest grossing year for the plastics industry, coming in at $427.3 billion in shipments.

State Plastics Statistics

Unsurprisingly due to their size, Texas and California employ the most people in the plastics industry at 77,000 and 73,800 respectively. As two of the most populous states in the union, Texas and California are also well positioned for plastics production. Texas has access to abundant raw materials, and California is close to end-users in manufacturing, I.T., and healthcare.

Ohio ranks an incredibly close third, with 73,700 individuals employed in plastics. It is also situated in a high manufacturing area, but its comparatively small population makes this ranking impressive. In terms of concentration (plastics employees per 1,000 non-farm employees in a state), Indiana ranks first with 16.4%, followed by Michigan at 15.9% and Ohio at 13.8%.

Plastics in Ohio – Power of the Cluster

Ohio houses 1,134 plastics establishments, compared to 16,803 nationally. This means Ohio accounts for approximately 7% of the U.S.’s plastics institutions. It is no surprise then that Ohio employs the most individuals in plastic machinery, and ranks second in molds for plastics. Plastics sales in Ohio came to $28,665 million this past year, or 8% of the national totals. These are quite large percentages for one state, especially considering Ohio’s population and size in comparison to others.

However, Ohio has one major advantage: it is one of the most significant polymer clusters in the U.S. Defined by economist Michael Porter as “geographic concentrations of interconnected companies and institutions in a particular field”, the Ohio cluster contains numerous plastics producers, consumers, and educational institutions devoted to training, research and development. Not only are these establishments physically close, but their intentional collaboration has led to Ohio’s success in the plastics field.

The number of colleges and universities in Ohio specializing in plastics adds not only numbers, but highly qualified employees. Such qualified workers means better, more efficient manufacturing. A high quality product leads to high demand, and incentivizes plastics-consuming facilities to move to Ohio. This further bolsters the cluster, providing more individuals to participate in collaboration and innovation in plastics.

PolymerOhio strives to support and connect members of this important plastics cluster, bringing growth to Ohio. To find out more about how PolymerOhio can help you and your industry, contact us online or call us at 614-776-5720.

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