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Record Recycling Jobs and Economic Output for U.S. Aluminum as Investment Continues

New Economic Impact Report Shows Decade Highs in Some Sectors, Declines in Others

A new study by economic research firm John Dunham & Associates found that the U.S. aluminum industry directly employs more than 164,000 workers and drives $92 billion in direct economic output. The 2024 Economic Impact of the U.S. Aluminum Industry study also found that when indirect and induced impacts are considered, the industry supports nearly 700,000 American jobs and $228 billion in total economic impact – nearly 1% of U.S. GDP. The industry reported record jobs in aluminum recycling, sheet & plate and other segments since tracking began in 2013.

U.S. Aluminum Industry Economic Contribution 2024
  Direct Supplier Induced Total
Jobs (FTE) 164,140 263,845 271,974 699,959


$13,960,839,700 $22,350,656,800 $17,804,695,000 $54,116,191,500
Economic Output $92,353,522,300 $78,361,203,800 $57,598,014,400 $228,312,740,500
Taxes $22,741,364,500

While overall employment in the domestic aluminum industry has been largely steady for most of the past decade, overall jobs declined nominally (-0.1%) compared to the 2022 study.

“Aluminum in the United States is a growing industry with a bright future supporting a modern, clean energy economy,” said Charles Johnson, president & CEO of the Aluminum Association. “Data shows that total U.S. aluminum employment has held largely steady over the past decade despite a significant decline primary aluminum production and jobs in the United States. This is a testament to the industry’s resilience and ability to innovate in a changing economic climate.”

While jobs in the primary aluminum sector declined by nearly 70% since the association’s first economic impact study in 2013, jobs in mid-and-downstream production and recycling have largely held steady or increased. Between 2022 and 2024, secondary aluminum production/recycling (+12.5%); aluminum coatings (+9.6%); and sheet/plate (+6.0%) jobs grew significantly and are at or near record levels since tracking began in 2013.

U.S. Aluminum Industry Jobs by Sector: 2013- 2024
*2013-2016 revised estimates include addition of 8,750 jobs, representing the foundries missed in prior studies (largely captive).
2024 Trend


12,787  4,879  3,131  4,829 4,367 3,994 -8.5% -68.8%
Secondary 9,428 9,507  9,412  8,611  8,989  10,109  12.5% 7.2%
Sheet+Extrusions 61,806  62,327  63,757  62,883  64,135  65,662  2.4% 6.2%
Foundry* 45,234 50,867  51,364  50,551  49,706  47,549 -4.3% 5.1%
Forging 10,328  10,462 10,888  10,464  9,362  9,365  0.0% -9.3%
Coating 2,814 3,132 2,838 2,664 2,828 3,099 9.6% 10.1%
MSC 23,142 24,631 26,563 26,146 24,915 24,362 -2.2% 5.3%
Direct Manufacturing 165,539 165,804 167,953 166,148 164,302 164,140 -0.1% -0.8%


2020 2022 2024 Trend
Sheet & Plate 16,163 15,749 16,655 17,651 6.0% 9.2%

“Mid-and-downstream aluminum production represents around 98% of all U.S. aluminum jobs, and we’re encouraged to see consistent growth in many of these segments over the last decade. With recovering demand, historic industry investment and recent federal grants, the U.S. aluminum industry is setting itself up for long-term success,” added Johnson.

Today’s report is an update of a study first developed in 2013. 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 nearly $14 billion in wages and benefits.
  • Indirect and induced employment creates an additional $40 billion in wages and benefits.
  • When all employment supported by the industry is considered, these jobs generate nearly $23 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

The study was completed using standard econometric models first developed by the U.S. Forest Service and now maintained by IMPLAN, Inc. The report is based on data provided by Infogroup, the federal government and the Aluminum Association. 

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.

Over the past decade, the industry has invested more than $10 billion in U.S. manufacturing including recycling operations and the first greenfield rolling mills in a generation. The industry was also the recent recipient of more than $650 million in Department of Energy grants to support industrial decarbonization. The energy and carbon impact of aluminum production in North America (United States and Canada) has dropped to its lowest point in history, declining by more than half over the past 30 years.

The complete study, including an interactive map with economic contribution breakdowns by state and congressional district, is available at

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About The Aluminum Association
The Aluminum Association represents the full value chain of aluminum production and jobs in the United States, including companies that make 70% of the aluminum and aluminum products shipped in North America. The association is the industry’s leading voice, developing global standards, business intelligence, sustainability research and industry expertise for member companies, policymakers and the general public. Aluminum helps manufacturers make good products great and great products even better – from fuel-efficient vehicles and sustainable packaging to the infrastructure of tomorrow and more. The industry supports $228 billion in economic activity and nearly 700,000 jobs in the United States. Aluminum companies have invested more than $10 billion in U.S. manufacturing over the past decade to capture next generation growth. For more information, visit

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