editorial

Aggregates; Construction Markets Rising Higher

As debate over a new highway bill and an increase in gas taxes to support the highway trust fund heat up in Congress, both the aggregates and construction markets started off the summer with bang. The estimated U.S. output of construction aggregates produced and shipped for consumption in the first quarter of 2014 was 370 metric tons (Mt,) an increase of 7 percent compared with that of the same period of 2013, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. “The revised estimated annual output produced for consumption in 2013 was 2.03 billion metric tons (Gt,) still a slight increase compared with the reported annual output for 2012,” said Construction Aggregates Commodity Specialist Jason Willett.

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Construction Market Shakes Off Weather Concerns

Although some recent indicators point to a tempering of the U.S. economy, The Portland Cement Association (PCA) is maintaining its forecast for steady growth in construction and cement consumption during the next five years, starting with a projected 7.9 percent increase this year in powder shipments, nearly double the 4.5 increase the industry logged in 2013 over prior-year volume.

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Construction Activity Flat

While harsh weather has put a damper on any opportunity for a fast start to the construction season, the huge crowds and momentous activity at this year’s ConExpo-Con/Agg show in Las Vegas gives the industry hope that things will pick up fast.

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Production Rises; Construction Advances

The first quarter of the year concluded with good news. An estimated 504 million metric tons (Mt) of total construction aggregates was produced and shipped for consumption in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2013, an increase of 4 percent compared with that of the same period of 2012, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The estimated annual output of construction aggregates produced for consumption in 2013 was 2.04 billion metric tons (Gt), an increase of 3 percent compared with that of 2012.

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Weather Impacts Construction Markets

As the year has progressed into its second month, cold weather and snowy conditions all over the country, even deep into the south, has created speed bumps for the construction industry.

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