Concrete Products

JUL 2015

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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As we compiled our annual Buyers' Guide Issue, complete with new listings and references in admixture, fleet, plant equipment and other categories, one market indi- cator after another painted construction activity favoring investment in concrete production and delivery. Industry economists and market observers view the first half of 2015 positively, and confirm a moderate to upbeat out- look for at least the next three years. Taking a global view of projected 2015 cement ship- ments—4.4 billion metric tons or 2.2 percent above 2014 fgures—Portland Cement Association Chief Economist Ed Sullivan sees developed countries or regions increasing consumption by 9 mil- lion metric tons, on top of a slightly higher gain in 2014. Much of the increase is due to activity in the North American region, accounting for 7.4 million metric tons, or 82 percent, of the anticipated global gains this year. PCA sees global ce- ment consumption recording sustained growth during 2015–2018, but at a less robust pace than previously expected—in the 2 to 4 percent range annually. Stepped up activity at U.S. construction sites is confrmed coast to coast in an Associated General Contractors of America analysis of Labor Department data released late last month. Contractors expanded payrolls in 40 states and the District of Columbia from May 2014–2015, and in 28 states and D.C. from April to May this year. "Construction has outpaced the overall economy in adding workers national- ly but the mix of states with construction job gains keeps changing," says AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson. "The top 10 states for job gains from April to May had previously lagged in adding construction workers, while energy-pro- ducing and other states that had record construction employment a few months ago have slipped." States leading in construction employment gains year over year through May are California (46,600 jobs, 6.9 percent), Florida (28,200 jobs, 7.2 percent), Texas (20,300 jobs, 3.1 percent), Washington (18,100 jobs, 11.6 percent), and North Carolina (15,600 jobs, 8.8 percent). Idaho (11.8 percent, 4,200 jobs) add- ed the highest percentage of new construction jobs. On the other end of the spectrum, 10 states shedding construction jobs since May 2014 are led by West Virginia (-12.3 percent, -4,200 jobs), Mississippi (-7.2 percent, -3,600 jobs), Rhode Island (-5.4 percent, -900 jobs), Maine (-2.7 percent, -700 jobs), and Ohio (-2.2 percent, -4,300 jobs). The six states that added the highest percentage of construction workers in May were all in the Northeast, a region that has seen less growth in construc- tion in recent years than other parts of the country. "Although most states are adding construction workers, only fve have exceeded pre-recession em- ployment peaks, and all fve slipped in May," Simonson observes. "This shows that the industry's recovery remains vulnerable to a downturn in government investment in infrastructure as well as market forces." Employment data backs year to date gains that leading management consul- tant FMI is tracking in overall construction activity. The frm sees 2015 project volume growing 5 percent over 2014 fgures, leveling off from the previous forecast of 8 percent in the frst quarter of 2015. "Construction spending con- tinues to build on the rapid growth experienced in the industry last year," says FMI Senior Managing Director Chris Daum. Although the second quarter outlook is lower than last quarter's, he adds, it still suggests 2015 logging the highest total for construction put in place since 2008. FMI's Q2 Construction Outlook examines 17 residential, non-residential and non-building sectors. The one with the best prospect is manufacturing, which continues to show gains despite several factors that point to slower growth for 2016, continuing through FMI's forecast horizon of 2019. Tempered activity indicates the cyclical nature of manufacturing-driven construction, plus the strong dollar's effect on U.S. exports. With a 5 percent cut on the horizon, the sector with the biggest setback is power, which remains in fux due to changing fuel supplies plus variable growth rates in alternative energy sources. EDITORIAL BY DON MARSH MINING MEDIA INTERNATIONAL EDITORIAL OFFICE 11655 Central Parkway, Suite 306 Jacksonville, Florida 32224 U.S.A. P: +1.904.721.2925 F: +1.904.721.2930 EDITOR Don Marsh, ASSOCIATE EDITOR Josephine Smith, GRAPHIC DESIGNER Michael Florman, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Steve Fiscor, MINING MEDIA INTERNATIONAL CORPORATE OFFICE 8751 East Hampden Avenue, Suite B-1 Denver, Colorado 80231 U.S.A. P: +1.303.283.0640 F: +1.303.283.0641 PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER Peter Johnson, VP-SALES & MARKETING John Bold, U.S., CANADA SALES Bill Green, GERMAN SALES Gerd Strasman, LATIN AMERICA SALES Paulina Downey, LATIN AMERICA SALES Sylvia Palma, SHOW MANAGER Tanna Holzer, PRODUCTION MANAGER Dan Fitts, Concrete Products, Volume 118, Issue 7, (ISSN 0010-5368, USPS 128-180) is published monthly by Mining Media Inc., 10 Sedgwick Drive, Englewood, Colorado 80113 ( Periodicals postage paid at Englewood Colorado, and additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40845540. Canada return address: Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor ON N9A 6J5, Email: cir- Current and back issues and additional resources, including subscription request forms and an editorial calander, are available online at SUBSCRIPTION RATES: Free and controlled circulation to qualified subscribers. Non-qualified persons may subscribe at the following rates: USA and Canada, 1 year $72.00, 2 year $119.00, 3 year $161.00. For subscriber services or to order single copies, write to Concrete Products, 8751 East Hampden, Suite B1, Denver, Colorado 80231 USA; call +1.303.283.0640 (USA) or visit www. ARCHIVES AND MICROFORM: This magazine is available for research and retrieval of selected archived articles from leading electronic databases and online search services, including Factiva, LexisNexis, and ProQuest. For microform availability, contact ProQuest at 800-521-0600 or +1.734-761-4700, or search the Serials in Microform listings at POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Concrete Products, P.O. Box 1337, Skokie, IL 60076. 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