Record recycling and economic output for US aluminium

European Aluminium

A new study by economic research firm John Dunham & Associates found that the U.S. aluminium industry directly employs more than 164,000 workers and drives $92 billion in direct economic output. 

The 2024 Economic Impact of the U.S. Aluminum Industrystudy also found that when indirect and induced impacts are considered, the industry supports nearly 700,000 American jobs and $228 billion in total economic impact – nearly 1% of U.S. GDP. 

The industry reported record jobs in aluminium recycling, sheet & plate and other segments since tracking began in 2013.

While overall employment in the domestic aluminium industry has been largely steady for most of the past decade, overall jobs declined nominally (-0.1%) compared to the 2022 study.

“Aluminium in the United States is a growing industry with a bright future supporting a modern, clean energy economy,” said Charles Johnson, president & CEO of the Aluminum Association. “Data shows that total U.S. aluminium employment has held largely steady over the past decade despite a significant decline primary aluminium production and jobs in the United States. This is a testament to the industry’s resilience and ability to innovate in a changing economic climate.”

While jobs in the primary aluminium sector declined by nearly 70% since the association’s first economic impact study in 2013, jobs in mid-and-downstream production and recycling have largely held steady or increased. 

Between 2022 and 2024, secondary aluminium production/recycling (+12.5%); aluminium coatings (+9.6%); and sheet/plate (+6.0%) jobs grew significantly and are at or near record levels since tracking began in 2013.

“Mid-and-downstream aluminium production represents around 98% of all U.S. aluminium jobs, and we’re encouraged to see consistent growth in many of these segments over the last decade. With recovering demand, historic industry investment and recent federal grants, the U.S. aluminium industry is setting itself up for long-term success,” added Johnson.

 Today’s report is an update of a study first developed in 2013. 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. aluminium industry’s economic impact.

 Other key findings in the report include:

  • Workers directly employed by the U.S. aluminium industry earn nearly $14 billion in wages and benefits.
  • Indirect and induced employment creates an additional$40 billion in wages and benefits.
  • When all employment supported by the industry is considered, these jobs generate nearly $23 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

The 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 aluminium industry is defined to include alumina refining; primary aluminium smelting; secondary aluminium production; manufacturing of aluminium sheet, plate, foil, extrusions, forgings, coatings, and powder; aluminium foundries; metals service centres, 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.

 Over the past decade, the industry has invested more than $10 billion in U.S. manufacturing including recycling operations and the first greenfield rolling mills in a generation. The industry was also the recent recipient of more than $650 million in Department of Energy grants to support industrial decarbonisation. The energy and carbon impact of aluminium production in North America (United States and Canada) has dropped to its lowest point in history, declining by more than half over the past 30 years.

The complete study, including an interactive map with economic contribution breakdowns by state and congressional district, is available at

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