Chemical Industry Outlook – May 2011 (By Zacks Equity Research)

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Share Chemicals are generally used to make a wide variety of consumer goods and are also used in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, and service industries. The chemical industry itself consumes 26% of its own output. Major industrial customers include rubber and plastic products, textiles, apparel, petroleum refining, pulp and paper, and primary metals.

The chemical industry has shown rapid growth for more than fifty years. The fastest-growing areas have involved the manufacture of synthetic organic polymers used as plastics, fibbers and elastomers. Globally, the chemical industry is mainly concentrated in three areas of the world: Western Europe, North America and Japan. The European community is the largest producer, followed by the U.S. and Japan.

Chemicals are a nearly $3 trillion global business, and the European Union (EU) and U.S. chemical companies are the world’s largest producers.

The US chemical industry produces 19% of the world’s chemicals output, amounting to $689 billion. The industry directly employs over 800,000 people nationwide. A total of nearly 5.5 million additional jobs are supported by the purchasing activity of the chemical industry and by the subsequent expenditure-induced activity. In addition, the US chemical industry is responsible for 10% of US merchandise exports, totalling $145 billion annually, as well as 11% of all US patents.

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