Chemical production in the US was 0.4% higher in May, and followed a 0.6% in April, according to a report released by the American Chemistry Council, last week.
The chemistry industry is one of the largest industries in the United States, a $770 billion enterprise. The manufacturing sector is the largest consumer of chemical products, and 96% of manufactured goods are touched by chemistry.
Manufacturing production rebounded during May, and on a three-month moving average output of the nation’s overall manufacturing sector was 0.5% higher.
Within the manufacturing sector, output in many key chemistry end-use markets expanded, including appliances, motor vehicles, aerospace, construction supplies, machinery, fabricated metal products, computers, semiconductors, plastic products, rubber products, plywood, printing, paper, and furniture.
Overall chemical production was again mixed. There were gains in the output of chlor-alkali and other inorganic chemicals, plastic resins, synthetic rubber, synthetic dyes and pigments, industrial gases, consumer products, organic chemicals. These gains were partially offset by declines in the production of pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, pesticides, synthetic fibers, coatings, and adhesives.
Comparing the first five months of 2014 to that in 2013, chemical production was up 1.4% nationally, with all seven regions posting gains.
Looking at specific regions, production in the Gulf Coast region continued to accelerate, rising by 1% in May. May production was ahead by 1.6% from a year ago, and up by 0.2 % on a year-to-date basis. The Gulf Coast region is dominated by the production of key building block materials, such as petrochemicals, inorganics, and synthetic materials, advantaged by shale gas development.
In the Midwest region, which is influenced by production of agricultural chemicals, plastics, paints, and other chemical products, chemical production increased 0.2% in May, following a downwardly revised 0.4% gain in April. Compared to May 2013, Midwest chemical production was up by 2%, and up 1.7% on a year-to-date basis.
In the Ohio Valley region, largely influenced by production of basic chemicals, plastics and synthetic rubber, coatings, and consumer products, chemical production rose by 0.8% in May on the heels of a 0.7% gain in April. Compared to May 2013, production in the region was up by 2.6%, and was also up 2% on a year-to-date basis.
In the Mid-Atlantic region, where pharmaceutical manufacturing is prominent, chemical production was higher by 0.1% in May, following a revised 0.4% gain in April. Compared to May 2013, Mid-Atlantic chemical production was up 2% on a year-over-year basis and up 1.6% on a year-to-date basis.
In the Southeast region, which is influenced heavily by production of basic chemicals, fibers, agricultural and other chemical products, chemical production edged higher by 0.2% in May, following a revised 0.7% gain in April. Compared to May 2013, Southeast region chemical production was up 2.6% on a year-over-year basis and was up 2% on a year-to-date basis.
In the Northeast region, which is influenced by pharmaceutical manufacturing and other specialty chemical manufacturing, chemical production rose by 0.2% during May, following a revised 0.4% gain in April. Compared to May 2013, Northeast region chemical production was up by 2.2% on a year-over-year basis and up 1.9% on a year-to-date basis.
In the West Coast region, chemical production slipped by 0.2% in May, following a revised 0.3% gain in April. Chemical production in the West Coast region was up 2.2% from last year and was up 2.1% on a year-to-date basis.