Study Finds Fertilizer Manufacturing Supports 244,000 U.S. Jobs

Nitrogen and phosphate account for the largest portion of employment.

Published on: Aug 28, 2009

The Fertilizer Institute released a report last week that shows the U.S. fertilizer industry supports 244,000 jobs and adds $57.8 billion in value to the U.S. economy.


The study, conducted by Charles River Associates International, found the fertilizer industry directly employs more than 24,800 people who produced fertilizers valued at $15.1 billion in 2006. These jobs had an average annual compensation of $76,000, which was almost 80% higher than the U.S. average compensation across all industries.


"For the first time, the CRA report quantifies the valuable economic contribution of the fertilizer industry to the U.S. economy," says TFI President Ford B. West. "We urge the Senate to review this report with an eye toward potential valuable job losses among the domestic fertilizer industry that could take place if, as we anticipate, climate change legislation leads to higher energy prices."


The CRA report found the nitrogenous fertilizer manufacturing sector provides a total economic contribution of $23.7 billion and 80,000 jobs, of which $10.3 billion and 7,565 jobs were direct. The states with the greatest economic activity dedicated to the nitrogen fertilizer sector are Louisiana, Oklahoma, Iowa and Alabama.


Phosphate fertilizer manufacturing was found to provide a total economic contribution of $21.2 billion and almost 90,000 jobs, of which $6.6 billion and 7,410 jobs were direct. The states with the most economic activity in this sector include Florida, North Carolina, Idaho, Louisiana and Texas.


While economic contribution data for the U.S. potash manufacturing sector is not as available as other sectors due to non-disclosure rules, CRA found the potash industry provides an estimated 1,774 direct jobs.


Fertilizer mixing was also identified as a significant contributor to economic activity with an annual contribution of $13.5 billion in output and more than 56,000 jobs.


According to CRA, the economic activity in the fertilizer mixing sector is more disperse than in the nitrogen and phosphate manufacturing sectors. This is because the economic activity is not concentrated in large plants but instead in an estimated 6,000 fertilizer mixing facilities that are located near cropland where fertilizers are consumed. The top states with economic contributions to the fertilizer mixing sector are Indiana, Florida; Texas, California and Ohio.