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U.S. Chemical Production Has Highest Year-Over-Year Gain Since 2010

According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), as measured on a three-month moving average (3 MMA) basis, the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) continued to expand, rising by 0.2 percent in February following a downwardly revised 0.3 percent gain in January.

The gain in February was the eleventh consecutive monthly gain. All major chemical producing regions posted consecutive gains in February.

Also measured on a 3MMA basis, chemical production by segment was mixed. There were gains in the output of organic chemicals, chlor-alkali, synthetic rubber, synthetic dyes and pigments, industrial gases, consumer products, and pharmaceuticals. These gains were partially offset, however, by declines in the production of fertilizers, coatings, adhesives, plastic resins, synthetic fibers, acids, pesticides, and other specialty chemicals.

Nearly all manufactured goods are produced using chemistry in some form or another. Thus, manufacturing activity is an important indicator for chemical production. Following a year of gains, manufacturing stumbled in part due to harsh winter weather and West Coast port disruptions. Production expanded, however, in several chemistry-intensive manufacturing industries, including computers and electronic products, plastic products and apparel.

Compared to February 2014, total chemical production in all regions was ahead by 4.2 percent on a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, its largest gain since July 2010. Chemical production was up from a year ago in all regions.

The chemistry industry is one of the largest industries in the U.S., an $812 billion 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. It is comparable to the U.S. industrial production index for chemicals published by the Federal Reserve. The U.S. CPRI is based on information from the Federal Reserve. To smooth month-to-month fluctuations, the U.S. CPRI is measured using a three-month moving average (3MMA). Thus, the reading in February reflects production activity during December, January, and February.

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