Cement consumption in the United States will continue to rise by 3.4 percent, according to a report from the Portland Cement Association (PCA).

The forecast in cement consumption, albeit at a slower rate, is down slightly to 3.4 percent growth compared to its fall forecast of 5 percent. PCA expects 2017 cement consumption will grow at a rate of 4.3 percent.

“The new forecast reflects the implementation of the new multi-year highway bill, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act,” said Edward Sullivan, PCA chief economist and group vice-president. “However, our forecast still reflects a deterioration in global growth conditions, an even weaker projection for oil prices, and a tightening of U.S. monetary policy.”

The association also recently released its Year-End Report, which noted 2015 cement consumption rising 3.8 percent above prior year figures, to 105 million short tons, while a companion document from a principal PCA data source – the U.S. Geological Survey – showed a 6 percent increase for construction aggregates shipments over the same window.

Citing USGS year-over-year cement totals by division, PCA noted that the Pacific region grew at the most rapid pace, 9.1 percent; West South Central logged the only decrease, -3.0 percent against 2014 figures, yet on a volume basis still represented the largest share (20+ percent) of the national market. Low ocean-freight rates, a strong dollar and weak global economic conditions factored heavily in a 34.4 percent increase in cement imports from 2014 to 2015, European mills more than doubling their westbound shipments.

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