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November 9, 2010 3:00 PM CST

Cement Industry Expects Slow Economic Recovery to Hold Down Consumption Growth


The economic momentum that was gathering steam early in the year has dissipated to a large extent and along with it the potential for an increase in cement consumption in 2010, according the most recent economic forecast from the Portland Cement Association (PCA).

In 2010, PCA anticipates nearly flat growth, with a 0.3 percent increase in consumption. Although this will be followed by small increases of 1.4 percent in 2011 and 4 percent in 2012, a period of sustained growth is forecasted for 2013 and beyond.

"Unfortunately, future gains in construction activity are dictated by labor conditions today," Edward Sullivan, PCA chief economist said. "Slow job growth leads to slower home purchases and start activity, it undermines the speed at which state deficits can heal impacting public construction, and implies low occupancy rates for the non-residential market."

While small percentage gains could characterize each of these segments during the next two years, substantive cement consumption volume gains are unlikely to materialize in until 2013. This implies a phase of cement consumption reflecting only modest growth for the near term.

About the Author

Based in Skokie, Ill., the Portland Cement Association represents cement companies in the United States and Canada. It conducts market development, engineering, research, education, and public affairs programs. For more information visit


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