US Chemical Production Flat in April; Remains up Over a Year Ago

Also measured on a 3MMA basis, chemical production by segment was mixed.

WASHINGTON (May 21, 2015) – According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) was flat in April, as measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA). This followed an upwardly revised flat growth rate in March and a 0.2% gain in February.

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

Nearly all manufactured goods are produced using chemistry in some form or another. Thus, manufacturing activity is an important indicator for chemical production. On a moving average basis, manufacturing activity was flat in April, following declines in February and March.  Production expanded, however, in several chemistry-intensive manufacturing industries, including appliances, motor vehicles, aerospace, rubber products, printing, and textile products.

Compared to April 2014, total chemical production in all regions was ahead by 4.4 percent on a year-over-year basis, a slowing comparison. Chemical production remained ahead of year ago levels in all regions.

The chemistry industry is one of the largest industries in the United States, 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, and as such, includes monthly revisions as published by the Federal Reserve. To smooth month-to-month fluctuations, the U.S. CPRI is measured using a three-month moving average. Thus, the reading in April reflects production activity during February, March, and April.