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U.S. Aluminum Industry Continues to Grow Amidst Record Demand, Chinese Overcapacity Challenge

April 11, 2018
ARLINGTON, VA  – A new study released today shows that direct jobs in the U.S. aluminum industry grew by 3.5 percent between 2013 and today to more than 162,000 workers amid record metal demand but continued global trade challenges. Research conducted by economic analysis firm John Dunham & Associates found that the U.S. aluminum industry generates nearly $71 billion in economic output and indirectly generates an additional $103 billion economic output. In total, the U.S. aluminum industry supports more than 692,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs and nearly $174 billion in economic output, around 1 percent of Gross Domestic Product.
 
U.S. Aluminum Industry Economic Contribution 
 
 
Jobs (FTE)
Wages/Benefits
Economic Impact
 
Direct
162,263
$12,109,685,800
$70,990,404,600
 
Supplier
234,834
$17,063,515,100
$54,197,064,400
 
Induced
295,301
$15,242,576,600
$48,426,713,300
 
Total 692,398 $44,415,777,500 $173,614,182,300

 

Preliminary data shows that demand for aluminum in North America in 2017 totaled 27.2 billion pounds – the eighth year of consecutive demand growth and a record since tracking began in the 1960s. This demand is being driven by healthy growth in most of our key market segments – most notably in the auto sector, where the industry has committed and invested more than $2.6 billion in domestic manufacturing over the past 5 years. However, an increasing percentage of domestic demand is being met by foreign imports driven by Chinese metal overcapacity in the marketplace. This has led to continued job declines in primary aluminum production amid smelter closures and curtailments, as well as in production of certain flat rolled semi-fabricated products.
 
“The aluminum industry in the United States has an incredible opportunity play an even larger role in the nation’s continued economic growth – particularly in manufacturing,” said Heidi Brock, president & CEO of the Aluminum Association. “We’re pleased to see growth in some sectors amid strong demand for the metal but we should not lose sight of the significant challenges we still face in certain markets.” 
 
U.S. Direct Aluminum Jobs by Sector
 
2013  
2016
2018 Change 2016 - 2018 Change 2013 - 2018
Primary/Alumina
12,787
4,879
4,192
↓ 14.1%
↓ 67.2%
Secondary (Recycling)
9,428
9,507
10,412
↑ 9.5%
↑ 10.4%
Sheet/Plate/Extrusions
61,806
62,327
64,306
↑ 3.2%
↑ 4.0%
 
Foundries
36,484
42,117
42,614
↑ 1.2%
↑ 16.8%
Forgings
10,328
10,462
10,888
↑ 4.1%
↑ 5.4%
Coatings
2,814
3,132
3,288
↑ 5.0%
↑ 16.8% 
Metal Service Centers
23,142
24,631
26,563
↑ 7.8
↑ 14.8%
 
TOTAL 156,789 157,054 162,263 ↑ 3.3% ↑ 3.5%

 

 
The 2018 study shows continued job declines in primary aluminum production amid smelter closures and curtailments. The industry has also faced challenges in individual market segments involving flat rolled semi-fabricated products, including aluminum foil, with domestic producers recently found to be injured by unfairly traded imports from China. However, growth in other mid-and-downstream aluminum manufacturing processes meant that total direct industry jobs grew from around 157,000 in 2013 to more than 162,000 today. 
 
The Aluminum Association continues to advocate for U.S.-led government-to-government negotiations with China to address persistent overcapacity.
 
“Resolving China’s market-distorting trade practices will put the U.S. industry on a level playing field and support continued growth in jobs and economic impact,” added Brock.
 
Today’s report is an update of a study completed by Dunham & Associates in 2013 and 2016. Data from prior years’ studies have been reviewed and updated for accuracy, providing the most up-to-date and comprehensive information on the U.S. aluminum industry’s economic impact. 
Other key findings in the report include:
  • Workers directly employed by the U.S. aluminum industry earn more than $12 billion in wages and benefits.
  • Indirect and induced employment creates an additional $32 billion in wages and benefits.
  • When all employment supported by the industry is taken into account, these jobs generate nearly $16 billion in federal, state and local taxes.
The 2018 Economic Impact of the Aluminum Industry is based on data provided by Infogroup, the federal government and the Aluminum Association. The analysis uses the Minnesota IMPLAN Model to quantify the economic impact of the aluminum industry on the overall U.S. economy.
For the purposes of the report, the aluminum industry is defined to include alumina refining; primary aluminum smelting; secondary aluminum production; manufacturing of aluminum sheet, plate, foil, extrusions, forgings, coatings, and powder; aluminum foundries; metals service centers, and wholesalers. The study measures the number of jobs in this industry, the wages paid to employees, total economic output and federal and state business taxes generated.
 
The complete study, including an interactive map with economic contribution breakdowns by state and congressional district, is available at http://www.aluminum.org/economy.
 
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About the Association
The Aluminum Association represents aluminum production and jobs in the United States, ranging from primary production to value added products to recycling, as well as suppliers to the industry. The Association is the industry’s leading voice, providing global standards, business intelligence, sustainability research and industry expertise to member companies, policymakers and the general public. The aluminum industry helps manufacturers produce sustainable and innovative products, including more fuel-efficient vehicles, recyclable packaging, greener buildings and modern electronics.  In the U.S., the aluminum industry creates $186 billion in economic activity. For more information visit http://www.aluminum.org, on Twitter @AluminumNews or at Facebook.com/AluminumAssociation.

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