WASHINGTON — The U.S. biobased industry generates substantial economic activity and American jobs, according to a new report released by USDA.
According to the Economic Impact of the Biobased Product Industry report, each job in the biobased products industry is responsible for generating 1.64 jobs in other sectors of the economy.
In 2013, 1.5 million jobs directly supported the biobased product industry, resulting in 1.1 million indirect jobs in related industries, and another 1.4 million induced jobs produced from the purchase of goods and services generated by the direct and indirect jobs.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said, “This report is the first to examine and quantify the effect of the U.S. biobased products industry from an economics and jobs perspective. Before, we could only speculate at the incredible economic impact of the biobased products industry. Now, we know that in 2013 alone, America’s biobased industry contributed 4 million jobs and $369 billion to our economy,” Vilsack said.
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, applauded the USDA report.
Stabenow had called for the in-depth report in her 2014 Farm Bill.
“To have a strong economy we must grow things and make things and biobased products are the perfect combination of both,” Stabenow said. “That’s why the Farm Bill created new opportunities, like those announced today, to support biobased manufacturing. With 4 million Americans benefiting from this industry and our economy seeing $365 billion in added value, we must continue moving forward with policies that grow this sector and support these jobs”
The report builds on the “Why Biobased?” report released by the USDA in October 2014. Estimates are that the use of biobased products currently displaces about 300 million gallons of petroleum per year — equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road.
Vilsack also announced changes under the 2014 Farm Bill that will create additional opportunities for growth in renewable plant-based materials.
“Today, we are also adding to the number of innovative products carrying USDA’s BioPreferred® label and expanding options for our nation’s biorefineries,” Vilsack said. “This means small businesses and global companies alike can continue to harness the power of America’s farms and forests to create new and innovative biobased products that are used all around the world.”
The report found that the seven major overarching sectors that represent the U.S. biobased products industry’s contribution to the U.S. economy are: agriculture and forestry, biorefining, biobased chemicals, enzymes, bioplastic bottles and packaging, forest products, and textiles.