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First Look - February 2015


TOP NEWS
Deficient Roads, Bridges Cost New Jersey

Roads and bridges that are deficient, congested or lacking desirable safety features cost New Jersey motorists a total of $11.8 billion statewide annually.

Construction Starts Rose 7 Percent in 2014 

For 2014 as a whole, total construction starts climbed 7 percent to $575.3 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. This continues the pattern of moderate expansion for total construction starts reported during the previous two years – 2012, up 10 percent; and 2013, up 9 percent.

Dyno Nobel, Sandvik Hold Quarry Academy 

Dyno Nobel and Sandvik Construction, a business area within the Sandvik Group, once again teamed up to put on the 9th annual Quarry Academy. The three-day event took place Nov. 18–20, in San Antonio.


MSHA WATCH

The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration announced that it is on track in conducting rulemaking on reform of civil penalties; and possibly crystalline silica, based on the work done by sister agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This will address silica’s health effects and risk, as appropriate for the mining industry.


USGS STATS

An estimated 393 Mt of crushed stone was produced and shipped for consumption in the United States in the third quarter of 2014, an increase of 9 percent compared with that of the third quarter of 2013. The estimated production for consumption in the first nine months of 2014 was 955 Mt, an increase of 8 percent compared with that of the same period of 2013, according to USGS Crushed Stone Commodity Specialist Jason Willett.


ECONOMIC INDICATORS
  • New construction starts in December retreated 16 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $568.2 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The decline follows the 13 percent increase reported for total construction starts in November, when activity reached its highest level in 2014. 
  • PCA Chief Economist and Group Vice-President Edward J. Sullivan predicted that housing starts will increase 20 percent to 1.2 million units in 2015. This is up from roughly 950,000 units in 2014, and strong gains are also expected for 2016.
  • Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 11.6 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000 units, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

ENERGY

WTI crude oil futures price: 1/26/2015: $45.15/bbl, down $3.54 from week earlier; down $51.49 from year earlier.

Natural gas futures price: 1/26/2015: $2.881/mmBtu, down $0.246 from week earlier; down $2.301 from year earlier.

Retail gasoline price: 1/26/2015: $2.044/gal., down $0.022 from week earlier; down $1.251 from year earlier.

Retail diesel price: 1/26/2015: $2.866/gal., down $0.067 from week earlier; down $1.038 from year earlier.

Weekly coal production: 1/17/2015: 19.361 million tons, up 0.475 million tons from week earlier; down 0.214 million tons from year earlier.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration