- A new study by economic research firm John Dunham & Associates found that despite challenges for aluminum, namely the impact of overproduction in China, the domestic aluminum industry has its strong spots. These are represented in numbers such as directly employing nearly 161,000 workers and funneling more than $75 billion into the US economy.
- Demand for metal is surging to the tune of a near twofold increase in shipments to the transportation sector since 2009. And the number of jobs is on a slight upswing, though some plants have shut down and there have been substantial job losses in some segments.
- Among other key study findings were:
- Workers directly employed by the US aluminum industry earn more than $12 billion in wages and benefits.
- Indirect employment creates an additional $34 billion.
- All direct and indirect jobs supporting the industry generate more than $18 billion in tax revenue.
Last year, North American aluminum producers shipped the most aluminum since 2007, while plant expansions and planned investments have ratcheted up to over $2.6 billion since 2013.
"This report shows the continued resilience of the domestic aluminum industry and its importance to the U.S. economy," says Garney Scott, chairman of The Aluminum Association, as reported in Recycling Today.
Some companies, such as Pennex Aluminum in Ohio, are riding the aluminum tide and doing phenomenally well; though may have received substantial support from the state and local municipalities. Others called attention to the fact that some segments in the US aluminum industry are flailing as they work to stay afloat.
"While we’re pleased to see the net growth in our industry’s jobs footprint, it’s important not to lose sight of the significant job losses we’ve seen in certain segments, which is largely a consequence of overproduction of aluminum in China," said Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association, as reported in Recycling Today.
The problems in China have triggered the closure or curbing of operations at eight US aluminum smelters since 2015. And nearly 60% of domestic aluminum refining and primary smelting jobs have been eliminated in less than three years.