Although Garrison Keillor retired from Prairie Home Companion in 2016, his sardonic tagline lives on: “and that’s the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”
While not true for every last plastic injection molder in the US, the “above average” appellation actually applies to the industry as a whole during the past seven years: the plastic injection molding industry has grown an average of 8% more than other industrial sectors.
Why so? Declining oil prices, for one thing. Oh sure, there was a spike in prices during the first few years of the current economic expansion. But in the last few years, there has been a dramatic decline in the price of crude, which has led to lower than expected prices in the plastics commodities markets. That meant molders had greater price flexibility with their customers than heretofore.
This resulted in higher rates of both new orders and production levels. As vital as these numbers are, there is another metric that truly shows a vibrant and growing industry: the number of new employees hired. While molders may see new employees as a drag on the bottom line, they are actually a healthy barometer of our industry and, of course, help our nation as a whole.
As we enter 2017, the situation looks a little rosier: with the Dow at 20,000 and business optimism high, we can expect the plastic injection molding industry to outperform other industries again … and perhaps “inject” even more health into the entire economy. That’s good news for everybody, employer and employees alike.