Producing 18% of the nation’s chemicals, the plants of Niagara Falls, N.Y. had outsized needs for continuous quantities of materials, capital, and labor. As a business manager, the investments in tons of minerals and materials directly impacted the number of employees, the quantity of finished goods for sale, and the annual profitability of the employer. In 1965, over 5 million tons of chlorine was produced in the United States. Typically, it takes about 2 tons of soda ash to make 1 ton of caustic soda which then can be used to make about 1 ton of chlorine. You can get an idea why the city limits contained the railroad yards of three different railroads—Erie Lackawanna, New York Central, and Lehigh Valley—to provision these companies.

Whether it was the predictable output of chlorine, the attraction of silicon carbide to an electrode, or the shredding of wheat into biscuits, these national commodity prices provide a basis to compare the year’s costs for national and regional enterprises. Of course, a responsible business manager scrutinized these figures to achieve corporate goals.

Select a month and a year then click the Show Me button.
The results demonstrate the economic impacts of commodities.

Choose a date between January 1962 and December 1984


The Power City Commodity Index is a shorthand indicator of price levels and an historical trend. An effective executive, as Peter Drucker would write, was concerned with the potential for cost shocks with dramatic changes in transportation, oil, and exchange rates. The result here is a proprietary calculation of the 32 inputs using local electricity rates as a divisor. The green check indicates favorable cost trends for the enterprise’s foregoing year.

These elements were used to create steam power, melted down for use in various electrode configurations, and poured into vessels to cause chemical reactions. The results here display the prevailing rates for the period selected.

These compounds were used to introduce secondary chemical reactions to produce gases and solids. These intermediate compounds added value to finished goods such as paper, chlorine, and abrasives. The results here establish the prevailing rates for the period selected.

These raw materials played an important role in plant operations, in infrastructure, transportation, and process substitutions. Of particular note is the innovation of ethane as input to plastic production. The results here exhibit the prevailing rates for the period selected.

The capital investment required to procure, purchase, and receive steady streams of inputs was significant. Evaluating the complex relationship bewteen gold, state currencies, and domestic commercial banking was a critical component of business operation. The results here demonstrate the prevailing rates for the period selected.

Typically, labor is the largest expense of a company. The result here is the national minimum wage. Of course, collective bargaining and the mix of laborers to technical and supervisory staff change the company’s balance sheet. See sections 1, 3, and 6 for examination of business costs, income, and employment figures for the various periods.

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