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First Look - November 2014

Martin Marietta Makes Big Gains

Martin Marietta Materials Inc. reported its results for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, 2014, with a healthy increase in sales and profitability.

Labor Secretary Holds Aggregates Industry Roundtable

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez invited a select group of aggregates executives for a frank dialogue on the key issues facing the industry.

Luck Companies Earns Environmental Excellence Award

Associates from Luck Companies recently accepted a Gold Medal in the 2014 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards from Virginia state officials.


The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration released a summary of U.S. mining deaths that occurred during the third quarter of 2014. From July 1 to Sept. 30, eight miners were killed in accidents at work, including five in metal and nonmetal mining and three in coal mining. In that same period in 2013, nine miners died in mining accidents. The fatalities bring the number of U.S. mining deaths to a total of 30 in the first three quarters of 2014.


According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the nonmetallic mineral products leading index increased 0.4 percent to 241.8 in September from a revised 240.8 in August; however, its six-month smoothed growth rate decreased to 5.4 percent from a revised 5.6 percent in August. The six-month smoothed growth rate is a compound annual rate that measures the near-term trend. A growth rate above +1.0 percent is usually a signal of future growth in industry activity, while a growth rate below -1.0 percent points to a decrease in activity. The nonmetallic mineral products leading index growth rate is still in the territory that indicates that the recovery in the nonmetallic mineral products industry is likely to continue in the near term.


At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $540.6 billion, new construction starts in August dropped 9 percent, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw Hill Financial. The decline followed July’s elevated volume, the strongest so far in 2014, and brought activity back to the average pace reported during the first seven months of this year. Highways were up 7 percent, while bridges were up 9 percent.

For the third time this year, nationwide housing starts surpassed the million-mark, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. Total housing production in September rose 6.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.017 million units.

Nonresidential fixed investment grew 5.5 percent in the third quarter after expanding 9.7 percent in the second quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ Oct. 30 gross domestic product (GDP) report. It has now expanded by greater than 5 percent in four of the past five quarters. In addition, investment in equipment increased 7.2 percent, while investment in nonresidential structures increased 3.8 percent.


WTI crude oil futures price: 10/31/2014: $80.54/bbl, down $0.47 from week earlier; down $15.84 from year earlier.

Natural gas futures price: 10/31/2014: $3.873/mmBtu, up $0.250 from week earlier; up $0.292 from year earlier.

WEEKLY Coal Production: 10/25/2014: 19.319 million tons, up 0.596 million tons from week earlier; up 0.915 million tons from year earlier.

NATURAL GAS INVENTORIES: 10/24/2014: 3,480 Bcf, up 87 Bcf from week earlier; down 294 Bcf from year earlier.

CRUDE OIL INVENTORIES: 10/24/2014: 377.7 mmbbl, up 7.1 mmbbl from week earlier; down 2.1 mmbbl from year earlier.