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Domestic Aluminum Demand Up an Estimated 7.7% in 2021, Outpacing U.S. GDP Growth

Preliminary Data in Latest Aluminum Situation Report Shows Healthy Growth Amid Economic Recovery

The Aluminum Association released preliminary estimates as part of its monthly Aluminum Situation report showing an estimated 7.7% demand growth for the aluminum industry in North America (U.S. and Canada) in 2021. This outpaced estimated 5.7% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the United States in 2021. Aluminum demand recovered strongly in 2021 following a demand decline of 11.4% between 2019 and 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2021 Demand


Among key takeaways from the report:

  • Aluminum demand in the United States and Canada (shipments by domestic producers plus imports) totaled an estimated 26.3 million pounds in 2021, approaching levels prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • All major semi-fabricated -- or “mill” – product categories saw increased year-over-year demand growth in 2021, led by extruded products (15.9%) and sheet and plate (14.4%). In total, mill product demand grew 13.5% year-over-year.
  • Aluminum exports (excluding scrap) to foreign countries declined 20.4% in 2021.
  • Aluminum scrap exports increased 16.0 percent over the 2020 level.  
  • Net new orders for mill products remained above the baseline of 100 throughout 2021, the first year that has occurred since the Association re-set the Index back in 2013. 
  • Imported aluminum and aluminum products into the North America (US and Canada) grew by 21.3% year-over-year in 2021 amidst higher demand but are still nearly 25% below 2017 volumes.

“Taken together, this latest data shows an industry in strong recovery mode,” said Charles Johnson, president & CEO of the Aluminum Association. “Despite the lingering challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical issues and supply chain challenges, the U.S. aluminum industry shows signs of robust growth in a number of markets.”

Following a lull in capital expenditure in 2020, the U.S. aluminum industry has announced more than $800 million in domestic investment over the past 6 months. This contributes to more than $4 billion invested by the industry over the past decade to capture demand growth for sustainable, recyclable products in the automotive, packaging, building and construction and other sectors. Strong trade enforcement efforts in targeted markets has also led to industry investment over the past several years.

The Aluminum Situation report is one of more than two-dozen ongoing industry statistical reports developed exclusively by the Aluminum Association through surveys of aluminum producers, fabricators and recyclers. Subscribers to the Aluminum Association statistical reports have access to an interactive, presentation-ready charts and graphs you can manipulate directly through our website at To learn more about the Aluminum Association’s statistical offerings or to subscribe, visit us here.

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About The Aluminum 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, representing companies that make 70% of the aluminum and aluminum products shipped in North America. The association develops global standards, business intelligence, sustainability research and industry expertise for 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 supports $176 billion in economic activity and more than 634,000 jobs. For more information visit or find us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram. 

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