U.S. Aluminum Industry Employs 166,000 Americans; Drives $70 Billion in Economic Impact | The Aluminum Association

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U.S. Aluminum Industry Employs 166,000 Americans; Drives $70 Billion in Economic Impact

October 21, 2020

A new study released today shows that the U.S. aluminum industry directly employs more than 166,000 workers. Employment declined slightly between 2018 and 2020, according to research conducted by economic research firm John Dunham & Associates. The study also found that the industry generates more than $70 billion in economic output and indirectly generates an additional $102 billion economic output. In total, the U.S. aluminum industry supports nearly 660,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs and nearly $172 billion in total economic output.

U.S. Aluminum Industry Economic Contribution 2020

  Direct Supplier Induced Total

Jobs (FTE)

166,228 229,653 264,061 659,942
Wages $12,786,133,600 $16,964,798,200 $14,960,436,700 $44,711,368,500
Economic Impact $70,136,296,800 $54,295,856,700 $47,471,931,100 $171,904,084,6
Taxes - - - $15,934,382,600

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. These shifts were offset by an increase in jobs in the primary aluminum segment in the 2020 report, which represent about 3 percent of U.S. aluminum jobs overall. 

U.S. Direct Aluminum Jobs by Sector: 2013 – 2020

2020 Growth
2018 - 2020
2018 - 2020
Primary 12,787 4,879 3,131 4,829 54.2% -62.2%
Secondary 9,428 9,507 9,412 8,691 -7.7% -7.8%
Sheet + Extrusions 61,806 62,327 23,757 62,883 -1.4% 1.7%
Foundry* 45,234 50,867 51,364 50,551 -1.6% 11.8%
Forging 10,328 10,462 10,888 10,464 -3.9% 1.3%
Coating 2,814 3,132 2,838 2,664 -6.1% -5.3%
Metal Service 23,142 24,631 26,563 26,146 -1.6% 13.0%
Total Direct Jobs 165,539 165,804 167,953 166,228 -1.0% 0.4%

*2013-2016 revised estimates include addition of 8,750 jobs, representing the foundries missed in prior studies (largely captive).

“This report reflects an industry that has proven resilient despite numerous global trade and other challenges in recent years,” said Tom Dobbins, president & CEO of the Aluminum Association. “Like all segments of the economy, aluminum companies in the U.S. continue to grapple with the ongoing economic disruption of COVID-19 which is having a serious impact on demand and jobs.”

While the initial economic impact report was completed in March of 2020, subsequent modeling shows the impact of COVID-19 on industry jobs and economic output. The latest modeling through August 2020 suggests that direct industry jobs and economic output have likely declined about 11 percent since the study was originally completed.

The latest available data shows a topline domestic aluminum demand decline of about 19 percent year-over-year through July. Recent net new orders data for aluminum has shown some signs of improvement though orders remain off about 10 percent year-over-year through September. The model is derived using a variety of government and industry data sources to estimate changes in employment for each sector of the economy that uses aluminum as a major input. Some market segments have  The Aluminum Association will periodically update the COVID impact model and the new data will be available in real time at www.aluminum.org/economy

“Like all industries, the U.S. aluminum sector faces significant challenges but also major opportunities in the current economic environment. We are confident that consumer and company preferences for recyclable packaging material, efficient and lightweight vehicles and sustainable infrastructure will continue to drive demand for aluminum.” added Dobbins. “We look forward to working with policymakers and other industry stakeholders on issues like trade, infrastructure, energy and the environment in the years ahead.”

Today’s report is an update of a study completed in 2013, 2016 and 2018. Data from prior years’ studies have been reviewed and updated for accuracy, providing the most up-to-date and comprehensive information on the U.S. aluminum industry’s economic impact. 

Other key findings in the report include:
  • Workers directly employed by the U.S. aluminum industry earn nearly $13 billion in wages and benefits.
  • Indirect and induced employment creates an additional $32 billion in wages and benefits.
  • When all employment supported by the industry is taken into account, these jobs generate nearly $16 billion in federal, state and local taxes.
The 2020 Economic Impact of the Aluminum Industry study was completed using standard econometric models first developed by the U.S. Forest Service and now maintained by IMPLAN, Inc. The report is based on data provided by Infogroup, the federal government and the Aluminum Association. 
For the purposes of the report, the aluminum industry is defined to include alumina refining; primary aluminum smelting; secondary aluminum production; manufacturing of aluminum sheet, plate, foil, extrusions, forgings, coatings, and powder; aluminum foundries; metals service centers, and wholesalers. The study measures the number of jobs in this industry, the wages paid to employees, total economic output and federal and state business taxes generated.
The complete study, including an interactive map with economic contribution breakdowns by state and congressional district, is available at www.aluminum.org/economy.
About The Aluminum Association
The Aluminum Association represents aluminum production and jobs in the United States, ranging from primary production to value added products to recycling, as well as suppliers to the industry. The association is the industry’s leading voice, representing companies that make 70 percent of the aluminum and aluminum products shipped in North America. The association develops global standards, business intelligence, sustainability research and industry expertise for member companies, policymakers and the general public. The aluminum industry helps manufacturers produce sustainable and innovative products, including more fuel-efficient vehicles, recyclable packaging, greener buildings and modern electronics.  In the U.S., the aluminum industry supports $172 billion in economic activity and nearly 660,000 jobs. For more information visit http://www.aluminum.org, on Twitter @AluminumNews or at Facebook.com/AluminumAssociation.



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