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First Look - August 2014

Hill Named CEO at Vulcan Materials
Vulcan Materials Co. named J. Thomas Hill president and chief executive officer, succeeding Donald James, who will assume the role of executive chairman.

Martin Marietta Reports Record Sales
Martin Marietta Materials Inc. reported an aggregates product line volume increase of 12.7 percent in the second quarter.

Wood Appointed NSSGA VP
The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association appointed Bailey Wood to the role of vice president of communications. 


MSHA released a mid-year summary of mining deaths across the country. During the first half of 2014, 22 miners were killed in accidents in the mining industry. The toll represents an increase in the mid-year fatality count and reverses a decline in fatal accidents seen in recent years. “Mining fatalities are preventable, and they are a reminder that much more needs to be done to protect the nation’s miners,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.


The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that nonresidential construction spending increased in May. This bodes well for the nonmetallic mineral products industry, according to USGS, because nonresidential construction has generally been two-thirds of construction spending since the start of the U.S. economic recovery. The nonmetallic mineral products leading index and its growth rate increased in June, which suggest that the recovery in the nonmetallic mineral products industry is likely to continue in the near term.


New construction starts in June advanced 6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $549.7 billion, the highest level so far in 2014, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw Hill Financial. Nonresidential building strengthened after pulling back in May, with the lift coming from the start of several large manufacturing plant projects. Modest gains in June were also reported for housing and nonbuilding construction (public works and electric utilities). New highway construction starts in June improved 6 percent.

Nationwide housing production fell 9.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 893,000 units in June, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. The drop was due primarily to a nearly 30 percent decline in the South. All other regions posted monthly gains.

The U.S. construction industry added 6,000 jobs in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics July 3 report; however, nonresidential construction added only 700 of those jobs and the heavy and civil engineering sector lost 700 jobs.

  • WTI crude oil futures price - 7/29/2014: $100.97/bbl, down $3.45 from week earlier; down $3.58 from year earlier.
  • Natural gas futures price - 7/29/2014: $3.808/mmBtu, up $0.036 from week earlier; up $0.349 from year earlier.
  • Retail gasoline price - 7/28/2014: $3.539/gal, down $0.054 from week earlier; down $0.107 from year earlier.
  • Crude oil inventories - 7/25/2014: 367.4 mmbbl, down 3.7 mmbbl from week earlier; up 2.8 mmbbl from year earlier.
  • Weekly coal production - 7/19/2014: 18.990 million tons, up 0.649 million tons from week earlier; down 0.528 million tons from year earlier.