Although labor issues are gradually emerging, the economic outlook for the US plastics industry remains positive. This is the prediction of Perc Pineda, chief economist of the American Plastics Industry Association.
According to Pineda, the long-term average GDP growth of the U.S. economy is 2% to 3% per year, including 2.7% to 3% in 2018.
"The U.S. economy is operating at full capacity and is unlikely to decline this year or next year. Prices may rise slightly, but inflation will not change drastically in the short term."
But Pineda added that the next "backlash" of the economy may be the tightening of the labor market.
He explained: “Unemployment rate continues to decline, which brings with it the pressure of rising wages. The reason is that not many people are looking for work. Therefore, companies will have to compete for talent.”
Pineda also said that the demographic structure affects the supply of labor.
He said: "The labor market does not have enough new entrants."
U.S. companies are also striving to find ways to increase productivity, although Pineda said that this challenge “is not strictly an American phenomenon”.
Thanks to the export of resins, the US plastics industry has maintained a trade surplus and has continued to grow in recent years. Pineda points out that retail sales will affect plastic shipments because "plastics are everywhere." The sales of plastics in the household appliances and food and beverage industries have always been good.
He added that the US real estate market continues to recover and plastics are used for pipelines and other applications in the market. With current sales of only 17 million cars in the United States, he expects sales of plastics in the automotive industry to be at a low level this year.
Pineda also said that even if it has achieved its current success, the market will have to look ahead.
"For the plastics industry, the only key is innovation, innovation and innovation."