U.S. chemical companies: dynamic and competitiveChemical companies from the United States are among the industry’s leading global players. With a revenue of almost 55 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, Dow is the largest U.S. chemical company, and the world’s second largest behind German chemical company BASF. Other leading U.S. chemical companies are LyondellBasell, and DuPont.
In 2016, several of the leading global chemical companies announced mergers, effectively changing the dynamics of the global chemical industry. One of the most famous mergers that happened at that time was the Dow Chemical and DuPont merger, which was cleared by European regulators in March 2017. Following the finalization of the merger in September 2017, the new conglomerate DowDuPont existed as a single entity until April 2019, when it separated into three companies: Dow, DuPont, and agricultural chemistry company Corteva.
The U.S. chemical industry's economic contributionsWith the exception of Germany, the U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of chemical goods. In 2021, U.S. chemical exports were worth some 233 billion U.S. dollars. The leading countries of destination for U.S. chemical exports were Mexico, Canada, and China. However, U.S. demand for chemical imports is also large. In 2021, these imports were worth around 305 billion U.S. dollars.
Corresponding with its dimension, the chemical industry is an important employer. Approximately 537 thousand people work at U.S. chemical companies, excluding the pharmaceutical sector. This number is distinctly lower than in the early 2000s, when over 600 thousand employees were reported. In 2019, an average U.S. chemical production worker had a working week of 42.3 hours, and in 2021 had an hourly wage of 27.39 U.S. dollars.
The U.S. chemical industry spends relevant amounts for research and development. In 2021, more than 11 billion U.S. dollars were spent for R&D purposes in the chemical industry. R&D funds have remained fairly stable over the last decade. Accordingly, the United States is the global leader in developing new chemical and pharmaceutical entities.