The Economic Impact of Aluminum | The Aluminum Association

The Economic Impact of Aluminum

Aluminum Drives Modern Manufacturing

Quick Read

The aluminum industry contributes $174 billion to the U.S. economy, close to 1 percent of GDP. Aluminum is one of the few materials that affect every person in the country, and nearly 700,000 American jobs are supported by the industry. Strong, lightweight and recyclable, aluminum is a material uniquely suited to meet the needs and challenges of the 21st century. From increasing vehicle fuel efficiency to green building products to sustainable packaging, aluminum is well positioned in the U.S. and global markets. 

Take Away Facts

  • Recycling produces high-value economic impact. The production of secondary (recycled) aluminum saves more than 90 percent of the energy costs associated with primary production.
  • Job are increasing. This includes work generated in core American manufacturing sectors including primary, secondary, smelting and alloy production.
  • Fundamental economic impact is created. The aluminum industry supports $174 billion in economic output.

The Aluminum Industry Creates Jobs  

More than 162,000 workers are directly employed in the aluminum industry. In total, 692,000 U.S. jobs are supported by the production, processing and use of aluminum.

Workers in the aluminum industry earn an average yearly compensation exceeding the national average. Indirect employment created by the aluminum industry adds an additional $34 billion in wages and benefits to the economy.

The number of core production jobs is increasing, including those related to foundry operations, secondary smelting and alloying. Aluminum processing jobs are increasing in many areas, including the production of sheet, plate, foil and extruded products.

While certain segments of the industry have seen major job losses in recent years due to the overproduction of aluminum in China, these losses have been offset by gains in downstream sectors like flat-roll products, extruded products and foundries.

The Industry Delivers Economic Impact

The aluminum industry generates $71 billion a year in direct economic ouput. When all suppliers and related business functions are taken into account, the industry drives $174 billion in economic output—nearly 1 percent of GDP.

Workers directly employed by the U.S. aluminum industry earn more than $12 billion in wages and benefits. Indirect employment creates an additional $34 billion in wages and benefits.  When all employment supported by the industry is taken into account, these jobs generate more than $18 billion in federal, state and local taxes. 

Aluminum Recycling Creates Economic Value

Recycling aluminum saves more than 90 percent of the energy costs required in primary production. Aluminum is 100 percent recyclable, making the metal one of the most recyclable of all materials. Recycled aluminum retains its properties indefinitely and is the only material in the consumer disposal stream that more than pays for the cost of its own collection.

The recycling industry is mature and growing. The industry recycling infrastructure is mature, profitable and well suited to aluminum-intensive products. More than 70 percent of the aluminum produced since the inception of the industry has been recycled and is in use today.

Recycled aluminum cans are worth more than $800 million dollars. Each year, the aluminum industry pays out more than $800 million dollars for empty aluminum cans. Every minute, an average of 113,000 aluminum cans is recycled. Aluminum can recycling programs have enabled charitable organizations and groups to earn funds to enhance programs and support projects for decades.

Driving the Economy Forward

Ford released the all-aluminum-body F-150 in 2015. The truck shed 700 pounds. This weight reduction will enable Ford’s trucks to improve fuel efficiency, lower overall cost of operation and continue America’s drive to reduce U.S. expenditures on foreign energy resources.

The aluminum industry directly employs more than 166,000 workers.

More than 166,000 workers are directly employed in the aluminum industry.  In total, nearly 660,000 U.S. jobs are supported by the production, processing and use of aluminum.


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