ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. The
North American aluminum industry is seeing demand recover to
pre-recession levels, according to Noranda Aluminum Holding
Corp.s top executive.
Both demand and consumption have
jumped nearly 30 percent since hitting recession-era lows in
2009, Layle "Kip" Smith, president and chief executive officer
of the Franklin, Tenn.-based aluminum producer, said April 10
during a roundtable at the Aluminum Associations spring
meeting in Isle of Palms.
"That demand trend continues,"
he added, noting that North American aluminum demand grew by
some 5.3 percent in 2012 compared with 2011, while consumption
grew about 6.6 percent in the same comparison.
"The first part of revenue
growth starts with demand, and weve seen nice demand
growth for the industry," Smith said.
Among the key drivers of that
improved demand is the automotive sector, where aluminum has
seen "uninterrupted growth" for the last four decades and
aluminum consumption is expected to double by 2025, he
At the same time, demand from
the transportation sector continues to grow, while the housing
market is showing encouraging signs, Smith said. While the
housing sector might be "a long way off" from the highs reached
in the mid-2000s, current trends in new housing starts are
encouraging, he added.
Increased demand for aluminum is
having a positive impact on jobs and economic output in North
America, according to Smith, who estimated that roughly
one-third of all U.S. manufacturing depends on products made by
the aluminum industry.
The aluminum industry has
approximately 3,900 facilities in all 50 states, creates $30
billion in direct economic output and employs more than 106,000
people, he said, noting that once downstream and indirect
operations are added to the equation those figures jump to $60
billion in economic output and an additional 360,000 jobs.