Aluminum is everywhere—literally. The most abundant, naturally occurring metal in the earth’s crust, aluminum is an essential element of modern life. Virtually every person in the United States, and indeed most of the world, uses aluminum every single day.
The metal is so ubiquitous that many of us don’t even realize how often it touches our lives. In fact, people use more aluminum today than at any point in the 125-year history of the metal’s commercial production. Aluminum is so critical to modern mobility, increasing sustainability and the national economy that without it, many of the conveniences of today’s world would simply not exist.
Innovative applications for aluminum are all around us. The car you drive to work most likely has an aluminum hood and other lightweight parts to drive fuel efficiency. Your house or office building likely uses aluminum windows and doors or maybe even a cool roof to improve insulation and decrease heating and cooling bills.
That airplane you fly in for summer vacation or that latest business trip would literally not be possible without lightweight aluminum as a key component. Increasingly, even the high-tech gadgets you use to keep in touch with friends and family make use of sleek, attractive aluminum casings.
Outside the day-to-day conveniences that aluminum provides, it is also the sustainable material of choice in many markets. As the United States and the rest of the world strive for a more fuel-efficient future, aluminum is a big part of the solution.
Lightweight, durable and infinitely recyclable, value-added aluminum products can lower energy costs and carbon emissions in dozens of applications. Coated aluminum roofs can reflect up to 95 percent of sunlight, dramatically increasing building energy efficiency.
Highly recycled and lightweight aluminum packaging can reduce shipping costs and carbon emissions for beverage makers. The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that an aluminum-intensive vehicle can achieve up to a 32 percent reduction in total life cycle energy consumption. From light-weighting to recycling, the aluminum industry is a solution to the world’s energy needs.
Aluminum is an essential element to this country’s energy and manufacturing future.
The industry today supports nearly 660,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs and nearly $172 billion in total economic output in the United States. These high quality, advanced manufacturing jobs provide nearly $13 billion in wages and benefits for direct workers, and an additional $32 billion in wages and benefits for indirect and induced employment.
Overall employment in U.S. aluminum has held largely steady for most of the past decade though most sectors lost jobs between 2018 and 2020.