U.S. chemical companies: dynamic and competitiveChemical companies from the United States are among the industry’s leading global players. With a revenue of 38.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, 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 2020, U.S. chemical exports were worth some 184 billion U.S. dollars. The leading countries of destination for U.S. chemical exports were Canada, Mexico, and China. However, U.S. demand for chemical imports is also large. In 2019, these imports were worth around 264 billion U.S. dollars.
Corresponding with its dimension, the chemical industry is an important employer. Approximately 529 thousand people work at U.S. chemical companies, including 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 2020 had an hourly wage of 26.72 U.S. dollars.
The U.S. chemical industry spends relevant amounts for research and development. In 2020, more than ten billion U.S. dollars were spent for R&D purposes in the chemical industry. That means that R&D funds have almost doubled over the last decade. Accordingly, the United States is the global leader in developing new chemical and pharmaceutical entities.