Written by Howard A. Lalgee, President
Howard A. Lalgee, President
Howard A. Lalgee

There are approximately 13,500 chemical manufacturing facilities in the United States owned by more than 9,000 companies. Facilities are located all over the country, with many companies in Texas, Ohio, New Jersey, Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and the Carolinas. The specialty-batch chemical sector is composed primarily of small companies, with more than 89 percent employing 500 or fewer employees. The chemical industry is an essential contributor to the U.S. economy, with shipments valued at about $555 billion per year.

Over 36 million Americans work in businesses that rely on chemical products. The chemical industry directly employs over a million people, with almost half working in chemical production and more than 90,000 chemists, engineers, and technicians employed in R&D. The increasingly complex nature of the business requires highly trained and skilled production workers, who earn an average of 25% more than their counterparts in other manufacturing sectors.

Many of the industries major customers are other chemical and manufacturing companies. The chemicals are used in the manufacturing process of their own products, such as toothpaste and cleaning products. Companies often into long term contracts with their suppliers and in some cases build manufacturing facilities very close to their major customer. Majority of products are supplied to a wide variety of customers mainly through a sales force who have chemical engineering backgrounds and can communicate the products properties and technical issues. Efficient operations by large companies help strengthen profitability whilst smaller companies tend to compete by producing niche or highly specialized products.

Industrial chemical plants are subject to a variety of environmental and safety regulations, administered by state agencies:

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) http://www.osha.gov/

EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) http://www.epa.gov/ . The chemical industry has made major strides in improving energy efficiency and protecting the environment

The DOT (Department of Transportation) http://www.dot.gov/ regulates the transportation of chemicals.



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