editorial

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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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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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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Last Year Was Good; This Year Starts Great

Final numbers are in for 2013, and it was a good year for highways, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw Hill Financial. Highway construction was up 10 percent for the year. Highway and bridge construction together registered a 21 percent gain for the full year. The top five states for highway and bridge construction in 2013, ranked by the dollar volume of activity, were Texas, New York, California, New Jersey and Virginia.

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