The shale natural gas boom could create nearly 15,000 plastics industry jobs in the U.S. by 2020, with growth in the resins, rubber, plastics and synthetic material sectors, according to the IHS report released last week. "Prior to the recent expansion of unconventional gas, the outlook for the [plastics] industry was bleak. It was suffering from significant plant shutdowns and capacity reductions," said Mark Wegenka, chemical consulting managing director at IHS. "However, as a result of these unconventional oil and gas supplies, we've witnessed a complete turnaround. The industry is not only competitive again, but it's attracting significant domestic and foreign investment and adding capacity."