The plastics industry is the third-largest manufacturing sector in the U.S., and it continues to be one of the entire U.S. economy's largest and fastest-growing industries. Globally, the data show that the plastics industry is setting records across the world as a major force driving employment, technology and product and material sales.
Due to the low cost of natural gas and, to a lesser extent, oil in the U.S. compared to other regions. These factors have driven down the cost of doing business in the U.S. for the plastics industry, and the development of unconventional oil and gas technologies--particulerly shale--in the U.S. has made the country more competitive in the production of chemicals and resins. Whereas U.S. resin exports were once expected to decline as the domestic demand for those resins grew, the new resin capacity makes it likely that resin export levels will remain at higher levels than before. The shale phenomenon has proven to be a game changer, further strengthening the U.S. plastics industry's competitive position globally.