The Economic Fun Is Here – Will Delta Derail It?

Various reports from our industry press mark a jump in ready mixed concrete production in April, which is just a thumbnail indicator of the health of the overall economy. Production was estimated at 35.6 million cubic yards, an astonishing 20 percent higher than in April 2020. Moreover, the estimated production nationally through April is 114.3 million cubic yards, approximately 6.8…

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Equipment Distributors clarify “right to repair” distortions

An expansive White House order issued under the banner of “promoting competition in the American economy” presents 72 initiatives for more than a dozen federal agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission, which is encouraged to limit “equipment manufacturers from restricting people’s ability to use independent repair shops.” The order instructs the FTC chairman to consider working with colleagues to exercise…

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Eagle Materials earns last laugh on Monday morning quarterback

Two years ago we saw Dallas-based Eagle Materials Inc., slightly reeling from a fracking sand production play, heed an activist investor’s proposal for a Light Materials (wallboard, paperboard) and Heavy Materials (cement, aggregates, concrete) business split. The action had the aura of an opportunistic New Yorker swaggering into Texas to shed light on running a construction materials business.  Eagle Materials…

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Lead economist tracks pandemic’s waning effects on construction

Sources: Associated Builders & Contractors, Washington, D.C.; CP staff An Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the construction industry added 110,000 jobs in March, bringing to 931,000 the number gained since April 2020, or nearly 84 percent of those jobs lost during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. The construction unemployment rate…

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PCA projects minor 2020-21 shipment drops, or gain, under two recovery models

Sources: Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill.; CP staff

Portland Cement Association Chief Economist and Senior Vice President Ed Sullivan offers two U.S. cement consumption scenarios around “U” or “W” shaped economic recovery curves, with respective 2020 and 2021 figures of -3.4 percent or +1.7 percent and -4.8 percent and -2.7 percent—this year’s projections measured against 2019 shipments.

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Market experts gauge global economy’s impact on domestic construction

Source: Allen-Villere Partners, New Orleans

Strong stock market performance plus progress in U.S. and China trade discussions have helped temper concerns of an economic slowdown moving into 2020. In his latest Concrete Products dispatch, “Will headwinds from the global economy affect us?,” however, leading construction materials industry management consultant Pierre Villere discusses a potential 180-degree shift in market forces that could impact concrete demand. 

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AGC confirms industry headcount at 10-year high

Sources: Associated General Contractors of America, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

Construction employment increased by 13,000 in June and 282,000 over the past year, bringing the total industry payroll to 7.22 million—its highest level since May 2008. “The construction industry continues to add workers faster than the economy as a whole, and is paying premium wages to attract and retain [them],” affirms AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson. “Employment gains are occurring in both residential and nonresidential construction. However, the industry is having to rely more on workers without construction experience, as the pool of unemployed construction workers has nearly evaporated.”

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