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Sullivan Forecasts Modest Cement, Construction Growth


The Portland Cement Association (PCA) held a press conference at the 2020 World of Concrete in Las Vegas, where PCA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Ed Sullivan predicted cement consumption to stay at moderate growth levels through and into 2022.

BRN20200204 Sullivan

PCA Market Intelligence expects cement consumption will grow by 1.7% in 2020. The potential for stronger than expected construction in residential construction could add one full percentage point to this outlook.

"The economy rests on two pillars, consumer spending and labor markets," said Sullivan. "As long as the economy continues to grow and create jobs, the economy will remain on solid ground and continue to support cyclical portions of the cement market. But the economic recovery is aging and losing its zip. Economic growth will gradually slow along with construction activity and cement consumption growth rates."

The aging of the recovery makes the economy, and cement consumption, more vulnerable to potential disruptions. These threats to the overall economy include slower global economic growth, declining consumer sentiment, trade issues, and the threat of coronavirus fully hitting the United States, PCA noted.

Regionally, Sullivan predicts:

  • Northeast & Great Lakes Regions are generally older communities and hubs of manufacturing. Characterized by a deterioration in population and economic bases reflected in slower cement consumption growth rates.
  • The Middle Regions are dominated by agriculture and energy industries. Ag industries tend to be less volatile and slow growing. Energy regions tend to be highly volatile and growth is influenced by oil prices.
  • Western & Southeastern Regions attract high tech and retirees. Dynamic job markets and population growth characterize these regions and reflected in strong cement consumption.