The Essential Element: Aluminum A Key Part Of U.S. Manufacturing Base | The Aluminum Association

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The Essential Element: Aluminum A Key Part Of U.S. Manufacturing Base

October 17, 2013

Study Shows Industry Supports 672,000 Jobs and $152 Billion in Economic Output; Rising Global Demand for Aluminum Creating Good Jobs Nationwide

ARLINGTON, VA. - A new study released today confirms the growing importance of the domestic aluminum industry to the U.S. economy. Research conducted by economic research firm John Dunham & Associates found that the U.S. aluminum industry directly employs more than 155,000 workers and generates $65 billion in economic output in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the study, for each aluminum industry job an additional 3.3 jobs are created elsewhere in the economy for a total of 672,000 jobs. When supplier and induced impacts are taken into account, the industry has an economic footprint of more than $152 billion - nearly 1% of Gross Domestic Product.
Other key findings from the report include:

  • Workers directly employed by U.S. aluminum industry earned more than $12 billion in wages and benefits in 2013.
  • Indirect employment by the industry creates another $29 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. 
  • These workers earn average compensation of more than $60,000, far exceeding the national average of $43,000.

"As an integral part of the U.S. manufacturing base and overall economy, the aluminum industry supports hundreds of thousands of high quality manufacturing jobs in communities of all sizes," said Layle "Kip" Smith, President and CEO of Noranda and Chairman of the Aluminum Association. "Aluminum is a vital material for the modern era and a bellwether for domestic manufacturing."

The Aluminum Association last released an economic impact study based on 2009 data that reported 106,000 jobs directly supported by the aluminum industry. The new study uses an improved methodology in order to more fully capture the industry's footprint. The new methodology is based on company specific microdata rather than aggregate data from the Bureau of the Census. Microdata captures the actual physical locations of all the firms in the different facets of the industry, whereas Census Data only captures the broad-based employment numbers, generally only from the largest firms. The new results show significant job growth in a number of key areas:

  • 4X increase in secondary smelting and alloying jobs (4,500 vs. 16,800)
  • 73% increase in sheet, plate, foil and extruded products jobs (32,500 vs. 56,200)
  • 23% increase in foundries jobs (29,600 vs. 36,400 jobs)

"It's encouraging to see that, as an industry, we're growing," said Heidi Brock, President of the Aluminum Association. "As the country recovers from the recession, we're seeing demand for our product bouncing back - up 30 percent since 2009. Lightweight, durable and highly recyclable, aluminum is a metal uniquely suited to the 21st century."

The study was completed by economic research firm John Dunham & Associates and is based on data provided by Dun & Bradstreet, Inc., 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 processing; secondary aluminum smelting and alloying; 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

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The Aluminum Association, based in Arlington, Virginia, works globally to aggressively promote aluminum as the most sustainable and recyclable automotive, packaging and construction material in today's market. The Association represents U.S. and foreign-based primary producers of aluminum, aluminum recyclers and producers of fabricated products, as well as industry suppliers. Member companies operate approximately 180 plants in the United States, with many conducting business worldwide. For more information visit, on Twitter @AluminumNews or


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