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Key Facts on the U.S. Chemicals Manufacturing Sector

Posted by IndustrySelect on Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Key Facts & Trends in the U.S. Chemicals Sector



The US chemical industry plays a vital role in meeting the high demand for raw materials across multiple sectors. As overseas utilization persists, the demand for these materials remains strong. In 2024, the industry continues to be a dynamic force, demonstrating resilience and innovation amidst market shifts. A key trend is the industry’s commitment to sustainability and circularity, with investments in renewable energy, green chemistry, and waste management. Digitalization and automation are also at the forefront, with the adoption of advanced analytics, AI, and robotics enhancing productivity and customer experience. Furthermore, the industry is diversifying its product portfolio, focusing on high-value-added and specialty chemicals, and expanding into new applications such as healthcare and energy storage. This constant evolution underscores the industry’s pivotal role in the economy and its ability to adapt to changing demands. 

Let’s take a look at the most recent statistics and trends in this vibrant sector.

Statistics and Trends in the U.S. Chemicals Manufacturing Sector

According to data verified firsthand by MNI, compiler of the indusrtial information that powers IndustrySelect, the U.S. chemical industry encompasses 14,367 companies that provide 947,174 jobs- a 2% increase of 2% over 2023. Of these companies, 2% are women-owned. Imports of raw materials are 24% compared to 11% for all of U.S. manufacturers. Still, the chemical industry is looking at good news since international distribution is 46% compared to 29% for all manufacturers. Public ownership is higher in the chemical industry, at 19% compared to 5% of total industrial public ownership. The U.S. chemicals sector is among the largest manufacturing industries, with reported annual average sales of $1.7 trillion.

Many chemical companies, 34% of the total number, find homes in the South. The Midwest hosts 29%. However, you can still find plenty of business in the Northeast, where 19% are located, or in the West, which houses 18%.

Numerous subindustries in the US chemical sector have an array of needs you can serve with products or services.

Understanding the Market: Types of Chemicals to Know

1. Agricultural chemicals

The agricultural chemical market includes herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and soil fertility boosters such as fertilizers. The United States Department of Agriculture is investing $29 million to increase the latter's production, making it a promising business target.

Read More: Top 10 Manufacturers of Agricultural Chemicals

2. Inorganic chemicals

This subindustry covers a massive number of chemicals. They include:

● Non-metallic oxides.
● Inorganic acids.
● Inorganic salts.
● Bases.
● Elements.

The products have many applications, such as:

● Scrubbers
● Concentrators.
● Diluters.
● Heat exchangers.

These companies require a wide range of equipment, software and materials.

Read More: Top 10 Manufacturers of Inorganic Chemicals

3. Organic Chemicals

While the average consumer may think of the word "organic" as meaning something natural or even healthy, in the chemical industry, it merely refers to most substances containing carbon. Many industries use them, including:

● Food and beverages.
● Pharmaceuticals.
● Water treatment.
● Automotive.

As the automotive industry speeds up, this subindustry may hop aboard for the ride.

Read More: Top 10 Manufacturers of Industrial Organic Chemicals

4. Cleaning Chemicals

This is an excellent place to start if you are looking for a subindustry with high growth potential. By 2028 the market is projected to increase from this year's $55.3 billion to $67.0 billion. Products include:

● Solvents.
● Surfactants.
● Chelating agents.
● Enzymes.
● pH regulators.

They find use in healthcare, manufacturing, retail sales and food. The North American market expects to see the most significant growth.

Read More: Top 10 Manufacturers of Cleaning Chemicals

5. Adhesives and Sealants

Adhesives and sealants have many applications in industries, including:

● Healthcare.
● Automotive.
● Packaging.
● Aerospace.

They are manufactured by major corporations such as 3M, Dow and Click Bond, and smaller companies. Manufacturing concentrates in Minnesota, but there are companies all over the country.

Read More: Top 10 Manufacturers of Adhesives and Sealants

6. Industrial Gases

Gases are another huge category encompassing many chemicals used for various purposes. Most commonly, they are utilized in manufacturing cutting and welding applications. Cutting devices include carbon dioxide lasers. Gases may range from harmless to deadly, fuel fires or snuff them out, save lives or exterminate pests. In the wide world of gases, you can find customers for almost anything you sell.

Read More: Top 10 Manufacturers of Industrial Gases

7. Pharmaceutical Preparations

Two trends in the pharmaceutical industry pertaining to procurement are stricter regulation and increased genetic and genomic testing. Both will require extensive record-keeping and the software and hardware to accomplish it. Testing will also require equipment and supplies. You may find a wide open door if you offer products or services related to either trend.

8. Inorganic Pigments

From 2022 to 2023, this subindustry showed healthy global growth from $22.84 billion to $25.12 billion. The war between Russia and Ukraine caused some disruptions, but it is still expected to keep growing at more than 9%. Lead oxide and cobalt blue are the two main components of the market. They are used in paints and coatings, although lead oxide is excluded from lead-free varieties. If you deal in items such as containers used by coatings manufacturers, the growth of this segment is a good omen.

9. Fertilizers

While some fertilizers can be considered agricultural chemicals, they have a market all their own. The cost of fertilizers experienced a temporary surge due to conditions in Russia and Ukraine, but the rise subsided. The price is now down 3% from 2022. Still, farmers can spend 24% of the cost of raising corn on fertilizer. The market is not going away, and fertilizer producers will still need materials and services.

10. Explosives

North America is an excellent place to work with this subindustry, as it is a leading market. The growth is supported by:

● Coal mining.
● Metal mining.
● Quarrying.
● Nonmetal.
● Construction.

Mining is driving much of the demand for explosives. The explosives market is expected to grow by 5.2% between 2023 and 2028. Producers are unlikely to slam the door in your face if you offer what they need.

11. Alkalies and Chlorine

Alkalies and chlorine include caustic soda, chlorine and soda ash. They are used for water treatment and to manufacture chemicals and pharmaceuticals. From 2022 to 2023, the global market grew at a good clip from $74.34 billion to $80.35 billion. This market, too, experienced a slowdown due to the war but is still expected to grow to $103.13 billion by 2027. In 2022, North America was the second-largest region in the market. Producers should be open to offers of appropriate goods and services.

Tap into the Chemicals Market with IndustrySelect

While this industry offers numerous opportunities, you still need to reach prospects with the decision-making authority to close a deal. Powered by data verified firsthand by MNI, IndustrySelect offers up-to-date information on company locations, executive positions, names and executive emails. Try a free demo today and discover the pick you need to reach the gold.

Want to keep up with the latest sales and marketing trends and exclusive industrial statistics from MNI? The free weekly IndustrySelect Insider email is the industry's top source for sales, marketing and industrial news you can't find anywhere else. Subscribe here.

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