(Photo Credit: LyondellBasell)
LyondellBasell, one of the world’s largest plastics, chemicals and refining manufacturing companies, has emerged as a leading driver of growth and investment in Houston and the broader Texas Gulf Coast region. Already employing more than 4,500 manufacturing workers in the region, LyondellBasell is making ambitious plans to invest in organic growth in the U.S. Gulf Coast. Today, the company broke ground on one of its most significant investments in U.S. manufacturing to date.
In what has become the single largest capital investment in LyondellBasell’s 70-year history, the company is investing $2.4 billion to build a new manufacturing facility in the Houston area. When fully operational in 2021, the facility will be the largest of its kind in the world.
These kinds of exciting investments in U.S. manufacturing make a huge difference for the men and women who make things in America. The project is expected to support 2,200 new construction jobs, and the new facility will employ 160 new full-time manufacturing workers when completed.
It’s not just manufacturing workers who will feel the impact from LyondellBasell’s investment. The new facility is expected to create a total economic impact of $453 million for the Greater Houston area. In addition, one of the products the new facility will manufacture is tertiary butyl alcohol, which is used to help reduce emissions from automobiles and is a critical tool in manufacturers’ commitment to sustainability.
LyondellBasell’s investment comes at an important time for the U.S. manufacturing industry. Manufacturers in the United States are experiencing record optimism, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Manufacturers, and have more than 400,000 job openings. Yet, despite the growing opportunities, not enough Americans are entering the manufacturing workforce, and too few are upskilled to solve this workforce shortage.
In a June op-ed, LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel described the impact that this worker shortage is having on the manufacturing industry in general and on Houston in particular:
Today’s historic tightness in the labor market, combined with underinvestment in technical skills education and the looming retirement of the baby-boomer generation, has made it challenging for our industry to fill job openings for welders, pipefitters, electricians and other technically skilled workers.
In Houston, our company, LyondellBasell, is currently investing in growth projects worth more than $3.1 billion. But employers here need to hire 75,000 additional skilled workers each year to keep up with our current pace of growth, according to numbers from the Greater Houston Partnership.
Historic investments in U.S. manufacturing, such as LyondellBasell’s groundbreaking on what will soon be the largest facility of its kind in the world, are the types of announcements that can continue enhancing attitudes about the opportunities in the industry and jumpstart the right partnerships to upskill the next generation of workers with the talents America’s job creators need.
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