The U.S. chemical industry is one of the largest and most important industries worldwide.
It is the largest national producer of chemical products globally. Including the pharmaceutical sector, its chemical output value was more than $797 billion in 2015. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the value added by U.S. chemistry in 2015 amounted to more than $377 billion.
Chemical companies from the U.S. are among the industry’s leading global players. With a revenue of nearly $50 billion in 2015, Dow Chemical is the largest U.S. chemical company, and the world’s number two behind Germany’s BASF. Other U.S. top companies are LyondellBasell, DuPont and Praxair. In 2016, several of the leading global chemical companies announced mergers, effectively changing the dynamics of the global chemical industry. The Dow Chemical and DuPont merger was cleared by European regulators in March.
Besides Germany, the U.S. is the world’s top exporter of chemical goods. In 2015, chemical exports were worth some $184 billion. Most of it was generated through exports to the Asia-Pacific region. The top countries of destination for chemical exports were Canada, Mexico and China. However, the U.S. also has a large demand for chemical imports. In 2015, these imports were worth around $205 billion.
Corresponding with its dimension, the chemical industry is an important employer. About 810,000 people work at chemical companies within the United States, including the pharmaceutical sector. This number is distinctly lower than in the late 1990s, when almost one million employees were reported. In 2015, an average U.S. chemical production worker had a working week of 42.6 hours and an hourly wage of $21.76.
The U.S. chemical industry spends relevant amounts for research and development. In 2015, almost $93 billion was spent for research and development purposes in the chemical industry. That means that research and development funds have almost doubled over the last decade. Accordingly, the U.S. is the global leader in developing new chemical and pharmaceutical entities.