Technological watch

USDA Releases Latest Economic Impact Report on Bioeconomy

Today, USDA Rural Development (RD) released “An Economic Impact Analysis of the U.S. Biobased Products Industry: 2023 Update,” which demonstrates how the biobased products industry grew at the national level despite the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The report release also honors this year’s National Biobased Products Day, an annual celebration on March 8th designed to raise awareness of biobased products, their benefits and contributions to the U.S. economy.

“The Biden-Harris Administration supports and incentivizes biobased products because they are what consumers want — and what farmers, and our planet, need,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “American farmers, growers, biobased business owners and innovators are resilient and thriving. We are committed to celebrating them and the economic, environmental and health benefits of biobased products on National Biobased Products Day.”

Topline report findings include:

  • Biobased products, a segment of the bioeconomy, contributed $489 billion to the U.S. economy in 2021, up from $464 billion in 2020. This is an increase of $25 billion or a 5.1% increase.
  • Employment decreased slightly from 4.05 million jobs in 2020 to 3.94 million jobs in 2021, with each job supporting an estimated 1.4 more jobs in other sectors of the U.S. economy. This decrease is likely due in part to challenges in the labor market upon restarting the economy in 2021.
  • The biobased products sector and the jobs it supports are shown to impact every state in the nation and are not confined to states where agriculture is the main industry.
  • The use of biobased products reduces the consumption of petroleum equivalents. In 2017, oil displacement was estimated to be as much as 9.4 million barrels of oil equivalents. In 2021, the displacement grew to 10.7 million barrels of oil equivalents using an 80% petroleum reduction value for biobased products.
About the ReportCommissioned by USDA’s BioPreferred® Program, which is administered by RD, the report’s findings span seven major sectors representing the bioeconomy. Each report seeks to address seven important aspects of the bioeconomy’s contributions:

  • The quantity of biobased products sold
  • The value of the biobased products
  • The quantity of jobs contributed
  • The quantity of petroleum displaced
  • Other environmental benefits
  • The economic impacts of biobased exports
  • Areas in which the use or manufacturing of biobased products could be more effectively used, including identifying any technical and economic obstacles and recommending how those obstacles can be overcome.
    This year’s release is the sixth volume in a series of reports tracking the impact of the biobased product industry on the U.S. economy. The report’s conclusions and recommendations are those of the authors and have not been endorsed by the USDA.
The Seven Major SectorsThe biobased products industry includes the following seven major sectors of the U.S. economy:

  • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Biobased Chemicals
  • Biobased Plastic Bottles and Packaging
  • Biorefining
  • Enzymes
  • Forest Products
  • Textiles
Download a full copy of the report here. Or, go to the USDA BioPreferred Program website:

About BioPreferred The USDA BioPreferred Program is the Federal Government’s official advocate and market accelerator for biobased products. Its primary goals are to increase the development, purchase, and use of biobased products; support rural communities; and contribute to a growing and thriving bioeconomy.

Publication date: 21/03/2024

Author: Marion Kupfer

Bio-based News


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.