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First Look - May 2015

Industry Invades Washington

The 2015 Transportation Construction Coalition Fly-In was held April 14-15, in Washington, D.C. More than 500 people descended upon the Capitol.

John Deere Rolls Out New Iron

Among the equipment showcased at an Arizona event was the tier 4 final 1050K Crawler Dozer, and the 300G LC and Hitachi ZX300LC-6 excavators.

Coker Wins Young Leaders Award

Dennis Coker of Natural Resource Partners is the winner of the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association’s Mark S. Walsh Leadership Award, sponsored by Rock Products.


The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration announced that federal inspectors issued 188 citations and two orders as a result of special impact inspections conducted at 13 coal mines and seven metal and nonmetal mines in March. Begun in force in April 2010, the monthly inspections involve mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to their poor compliance history or particular compliance concerns. MSHA began an impact inspection on March 16 at Georgia Stone Industries Inc.’s Chelmsford Quarry in Middlesex County, Mass. MSHA inspectors issued 21 citations and one order to the mine operator.


The estimated U.S. output of construction sand and gravel produced and shipped for consumption in the fourth quarter of 2014 was 223 Mt, an increase of 5 percent compared with that of the same period of 2013. The estimated annual output of construction sand and gravel produced for consumption in 2014 was 904 Mt, an increase of 7 percent compared with that of 2013, according to USGS Crushed Stone Commodity Specialist Jason Willett.

  • New construction starts in March retreated 13 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $633.3 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The decline followed strong gains in January (up 9 percent) and February (up 17 percent), when construction was lifted by the start of several massive projects valued each in excess of $1 billion.
  • Nationwide housing starts rose 2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 926,000 units in March from an upwardly revised February reading, according to newly released data from the U.S. Commerce Department. Single-family housing production rose 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 618,000 in March while multifamily starts dropped 2.5 percent to 308,000 units.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced that construction spending during February 2015 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $967.2 billion, 0.1 percent (±1.2 percent) below the revised January estimate of $967.9 billion. The February figure is 2.1 percent (±1.6 percent) above the February 2014 estimate of $947.1 billion.


WTI crude oil futures price: 4/29/2015: $58.58/bbl, up $2.42 from week earlier; down $42.70 from year earlier.

Natural gas futures price: 4/29/2015: $2.606/mmBtu., flat at $0.000 from week earlier; down $2.225 from year earlier.

NATURAL GAS inventories: 4/24/2015: 1,710 Bcf, up 81 Bcf from week earlier; up 741 Bcf from year earlier.

Crude oil inventories: 4/24/2015: 489.0 mmbbl, up 5.3 mmbbl from week earlier; up 91.3 mmbbl from year earlier.

Weekly coal production: 4/25/2015: 16.822 million tons, down 0.168 million tons from week earlier; down 2.322 million tons from year earlier.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration