Our Friday data slice’n’dice look at the latest edition of County Business Patterns now turns to the converting industries. As 2021 began, there were 1,895 establishments in NAICS 32221 (Paperboard Container Manufacturing). This category saw a net decrease of 14% since 2010.

The Bureau of the Census definition for this business classification:

This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in converting paperboard into containers without manufacturing paperboard. These establishments use corrugating, cutting, and shaping machinery to form paperboard into containers. Products made by these establishments include boxes, corrugated sheets, pads, pallets, paper dishes, and fiber drums and reels.

In this category, software prototyping of packaging such as boxes results in innovative designs, which can optimize the logistics of transporting packages, especially from overseas manufacturers. This has only accelerated since, but environmental concerns are becoming more important in box conversion. Since the mid-2010s, ecommerce has been driving demand for more and newer types of corrugated boxes. At the same time, we have also seen a not inconsiderable amount of consolidation in this sector.

Establishments in this category are larger than we have seen in the printing and publishing industries. Small paperboard manufacturers (1 to 9 employees) account for only 15% of all establishments, while large manufacturers (50+ employees) account for just about half (53%).

These counts are based on data from the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns. Every other week, we update these data series with the latest figures. These counts are broken down by printing business classification (based on NAICS, the North American Industrial Classification System).

Next up, we’ll continue through the converting NAICS categories:

  • 322212 Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing
  • 322219 Other Paperboard Container Manufacturing
  • 32222 Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing
  • 32223 Stationery Product Manufacturing
  • 32229 Other Converted Paper Product Manufacturing
  • 322291 Sanitary Paper Product Manufacturing
  • 322299 All Other Converted Paper Product Manufacturing

To clarify what is included in the 2021 CBP, establishment counts represent the number of locations with paid employees at any time during the year. If an establishment existed at any point during the year, it would be included in the CBP count of the number of establishments for 2021 CBP.

These data, and the overarching year-to-year trends, like other demographic data, can be used not only for business planning and forecasting, but also sales and marketing resource allocation.

This Macro Moment…

We’ve heard this before, but, via Calculated Risk, Both Goldman and the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow expect 3.3% growth in Q2. Recall that early expectations for Q1 had been north of 2% while the actual number was 1.6%. So we shall see. (The BEA will release its first estimate on July 25.)