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Chemical industry contributes $5.7tn to global GDP, supports 120m jobs



A new report from the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) reveals the significant contribution the chemical industry makes to the world’s economy and job markets, with an estimated contribution of $5.7 trillion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and supporting 120 million jobs.
The ICCA's latest report reveals the enormous contribution the chemical industry makes to the global economy
(A U.S. chemical plant during construction. Image via McDermott).

The report was carried out by Oxford Economics on behalf of the ICCA and examined the full extent of the chemical industry’s footprint- from the production of chemical products (direct impact) through to the industry’s supply chain (indirect impact supported through procurement of intermediate goods) as well as wage-financed effects (payroll-induced impact sustained via consumption spending of workers employed by the industry and its suppliers).

Key findings of the report include:

  • Directly, the chemical industry added $1.1 trillion to world GDP and employed 15 million people, making it the fifth-largest global manufacturing sector.

  • For every $1 USD generated by the chemical industry, a further $4.20 USD is generated elsewhere in the global economy.

  • Companies in the chemical industry spent an estimated $3 trillion USD with their suppliers in 2017, buying goods and services used in the manufacture of their products. This supply chain spending contributed an estimated $2.6 trillion USD to global GDP, and supported 60 million jobs.

  • The global chemical industry invested an estimated $51 billion USD in Research and Development (R&D), supporting 1.7 million jobs and $92 billion USD in economic activity.

  • The largest contributor to GDP and jobs is the Asia-Pacific chemical industry, generating 45 percent of the industry’s total annual economic value, and 69 percent of all jobs supported.Europe made the next most important contribution ($1.3 trillion USD total GDP contribution, 19 million jobs supported) followed by North America ($866 billion USD total GDP contribution, 6 million jobs supported).

  • Commenting on the findings of the report, Cal Dooley, ICCA Council Secretary and President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), said:

    “The innovations developed and produced by the chemical industry’s longstanding presence worldwide have helped turn the tide of human history. Over time, chemical manufacturers have become an integral part of the global economy and critical enabler of technologies that improve people’s lives around the globe. This report makes clear that the chemical industry is an irreplaceable contributor to global GDP, a source of skilled employment opportunities and a major enabler of progress in the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainable development as reflected in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals”.

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