Hides earn cash, as meat delivers 5% of US GDP

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

The meat industry in the US is responsible for over five million jobs
The meat industry in the US is responsible for over five million jobs

Related tags Cattle Us Beef Lamb Pork Poultry

Hides and skins generate $3.4bn for the US economy, while meat delivers 5.6% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to analysis by the North American Meat Institute (NAMI).

The entire meat and poultry industry in the US generates $1.02 trillion in total economic output, which is over 5% of America’s GDP. Recent data from the World Bank puts the total US GDP somewhere around $17.42trn.

The data on the meat industry is based on an economic impact analysis by financial firm John Dunham & Associates and NAMI. The research was put together to examine all aspects of the meat industry and this included the sometimes overlooked area of hides, skins and leather – which meat producers need to offload.

Research showed the US hides and skins industry was worth $3.4bn in total economic output. Research by NAMI in this area was completed on behalf of its affiliate organisation, the US Hide, Skin and Leather Association (USHSLA).

Millions of jobs

The study grouped animal hides and skins with offal meat. Data showed that the production, processing and distribution of those products were directly responsible for the employ of 5,486 staff, collectively paid over $384m.

The meat and poultry industry is responsible for 5.4m jobs, with the labour force earning a collective $257bn in wages.

This data is based on the 2016 Economic Impact of the Meat and Poultry Industry. It examined all parts of the sector – meat and poultry slaughtering, processing, rendering, hide and skin production, and offal production, plus wholesaling and retailing.

Crucial to economy

The US hides and skins industry remains one of the top raw materials suppliers to the global leather manufacturing industry,​” said USHSLA president Stephen Sothmann in a statement from NAMI.
This study just proves what we have implicitly known for years – the companies and employees that export more than 90% of US hides and skins products are integral to the US economy.​”

Animal hides are bought from US abattoirs by leather manufacturers and converted to untanned or fur products. The skins are then used to make shoes, handbags, upholstery or the interiors of automobiles.

US exports of hides and skins, including cattle hides, pig skins and wet blue leather, topped $2.3bn in 2015.

Related topics Meat

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