The fall of the US chemical industry

chemical spill
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During August, the US chemical output was lower in all regions, with the largest declines in the north-east and west coast regions.

According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) fell 0.3 percent in August following revised declines of 0.7 percent in July and 0.6 percent in June. During August, chemical output was lower in all regions, with the largest declines in the Northeast and West Coast regions.

Chemical production was mixed over the three-month period. There were gains in the production three-month moving average (3MMA) output trend in plastic resins, chlor-alkali, and pesticides. These gains were offset by declines in the output of synthetic rubber, coatings, fertilizers, consumer products, organic chemicals, synthetic dyes and pigments, industrial gases, adhesives, manufactured fibers and other specialty chemicals.

Nearly all manufactured goods are produced using chemistry in some form. Thus, manufacturing activity is an important indicator for chemical production. On a three-month-moving average basis, manufacturing activity edged slightly higher for a second month in August, up by 0.2 percent. Output expanded in several chemistry-intensive manufacturing industries, including food and beverages, appliances, motor vehicles and parts, aerospace, construction supplies, fabricated metal products, computers, semiconductors, petroleum refining, oil and gas extraction, plastic products, and rubber products.

Compared with August 2018, U.S. chemical production in August was off 2.5 percent, a weakening year-earlier comparison. Chemical production was lower than a year ago in all regions, with the largest year ago declines in the Gulf Coast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.

The chemistry industry is one of the largest industries in the United States, a $553bn (~€505bn) enterprise. The manufacturing sector is the largest consumer of chemical products, and 96 percent of manufactured goods are touched by chemistry. The U.S. CPRI was developed to track chemical production activity in seven regions of the United States. The U.S. CPRI is based on information from the Federal Reserve and includes monthly revisions as published by the Federal Reserve. In order to smooth month-to-month fluctuations, the U.S. CPRI is measured using a three-month moving average. The August reading reflects production activity during June, July and August.
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