According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), following a 0.6 percent gain in April, the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) was 0.4 percent higher in May. Chemical output was higher in all regions except the West Coast.
Manufacturing production rebounded during May, and on a three-month moving average (3MMA), output of the nation’s overall manufacturing sector was 0.5 percent 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.
Also measured on a 3MMA basis, 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.
Compared to May 2013, total chemical production in all regions was ahead by 2.1 percent on a year-over-year basis, following a revised 2.1 percent gain in April. Chemical production was up from a year ago in all regions. Comparing the first five months of 2014 to that in 2013, chemical production was up 1.4 percent nationally, with all seven regions posting gains.
The chemistry industry is one of the largest industries in the U.S., a $770 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 May reflects production activity during March, April, and May.
Following an upwardly revised 0.7 percent gain in April, chemical production in the Gulf Coast region continued to accelerate, rising by 1.0 percent in May. May production was ahead by 1.6 percent from a year ago, and up by 0.2 percent 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 percent in May, following a downwardly revised 0.4 percent gain in April. Compared to May 2013, Midwest chemical production was up by 2.0 percent, and up 1.7 percent 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 percent in May on the heels of a 0.7 percent gain in April. Compared to May 2013, production in the region was up by 2.6 percent, and was also up 2.0 percent on a year-to-date basis.
In the Mid-Atlantic region, where pharmaceutical manufacturing is prominent, chemical production was higher by 0.1 percent in May, following a revised 0.4 percent gain in April. Compared to May 2013, Mid-Atlantic chemical production was up 2.0 percent on a year-over-year basis and up 1.6 percent 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 percent in May, following a revised 0.7 percent gain in April. Compared to May 2013, Southeast region chemical production was up 2.6 percent on a year-over-year basis and was up 2.0 percent 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 percent during May, following a revised 0.4 percent gain in April. Compared to May 2013, Northeast region chemical production was up by 2.2 percent on a year-over-year basis and up 1.9 percent on a year-to-date basis.
In the West Coast region, chemical production slipped by 0.2 percent in May, following a revised 0.3 percent gain in April. Chemical production in the West Coast region was up 2.2 percent from last year and was up 2.1 percent on a year-to-date basis.