According to the recently released “Mineral Commodity Summaries 2013,” about 71 million tons of portland cement and 2 million tons of masonry cement were produced in 2012; the output was from 98 plants in 35 states and two plants in Puerto Rico. Production continued to be very low compared with levels in 2002–2007, which exceeded 90 million tons per year, and reflected recent plant idlings and closures, and idlings of spare kilns at active plants.
Although somewhat higher than levels in 2009–2011, sales volumes in 2012 were still nearly 51 million tons less than the record level in 2005. The overall value of sales was about $7.5 billion. Most of the cement was used to make concrete, worth at least $41 billion. About 70 percent of cement sales went to ready-mixed concrete producers, 11 percent to concrete product manufacturers, 9 percent to contractors (mainly road paving), 4 percent to oil and gas well drillers, and 3 percent each to building materials dealers and other users. Texas, Missouri, California, Michigan and Florida were, in descending order, the five leading cement-producing states and accounted for about one-half of U.S. production.
Cement sales improved modestly in 2012 owing to higher spending levels for new residential construction and for nonresidential buildings. Except for slightly higher levels of spending for roads, spending for public sector construction remained below the already low levels of 2011. High numbers of home foreclosures, high levels of unemployment, reduced tax revenues to the states and tight credit continued to constrain spending levels in all construction sectors.
Nevertheless, higher cement sales volumes allowed for a significant increase in cement imports and in cement production; the latter, however, remained well below capacity output at almost all plants. Most multi-kiln plants continued to operate only one kiln in 2012. One idle plant was formally closed in 2011, and at least one other plant that was idle in 2011 was formally closed in 2012. In addition, one plant that was active in 2011 closed in 2012.
No new cement plants opened in 2012.