Chemical companies from the United States are among the industry’s leading global players. With a revenue of 48.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, Dow Chemical is the largest U.S. chemical company, and the world’s third largest behind German chemical companies BASF and Bayer. Other U.S. top companies are LyondellBasell, DuPont and Praxair. In 2016, several of the leading global chemical companies announced mergers, effectively changing the dynamics of the global chemical industry. The Dow Chemical and DuPont merger was cleared by European regulators in March 2017.
With the exception of Germany, the U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of chemical goods. In 2016, chemical exports were worth some 185 billion U.S. dollars. Most of it was generated through exports to the Asia-Pacific region. The leading countries of destination for chemical exports from the U.S. were Canada, Mexico, and China. However, the U.S. also has a large demand for chemical imports. In 2016, these imports were worth around 206 billion U.S. dollars.
Corresponding with its dimension, the chemical industry is an important employer. Approximately 810 thousand people work at chemical companies within the United States, including the pharmaceutical sector. This number is distinctly lower than in the late 1990s, when almost one million employees were reported. In 2015, an average U.S. chemical production worker had a working week of 42.6 hours, and in 2016 had an hourly wage of 22.71 U.S. dollars.
The U.S. chemical industry spends relevant amounts for research and development. In 2016, almost 91 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.