The term "Chemical Process Industries" (CPI was coined many years ago to include a large number of industry categories that use chemistry in value-added manufacturing processes. The chemical industry, the largest component of the CPI, is the fourth largest U.S. manufacturing industry and provides about 6% of all manufacturing jobs at wages about one-third above the manufacturing average. In 1991, it had sales of $290 billion and provided a positive U.S. trade balance of $18.8 billion. The components of the CPI, as defined for this project, cover 91 SIC codes. In addition to these employers, CPI technical workers are employed by cities, states, federal government laboratories, and non-CPI industries as diverse as electronics and automobile manufacturing.
Many CPI companies in the United States are either subsidiaries of foreign companies or have sites abroad. They consider many factors when making decisions about closing, expanding, or establishing employment sites, including the quality of the workforce. Assuring that well-trained CPI technical workers will be available may encourage decisions favorable to U.S. sites.
CPI employment in the United States is highly concentrated in several geographical areas; however, almost every community has some individuals whose work assignments qualify them as CPI technical workers. CPI employers often concentrate their employees in very large numbers. However, they also may assign some CPI technical workers to highly independent work assignments at customer locations or at remote sites.