A return to optimism
As the US emerges from the Great Recession, helped by lower oil prices and improved employment rates, construction sector fundamentals are strengthening. For the US cement industry, this means an expanding market and perhaps an opportunity to bring back previously-shuttered cement works. By Ed Sullivan, Portland Cement Association, USA.
Americans are witnessing economic activity on a level not seen for many years. Driven by rebounding labour markets and an unemployment level below six per cent, the US economy is picking up strength. The job expansion is broad based, moving well beyond the part-time and lower-paid service jobs that were prevalent in the first part of the recovery. And, as the labour market tightens, workers are starting to see wage gains. This has allowed consumers to pick up spending and because home prices are up, grow wealth at the same time.
This return to economic optimism will also spill over into the cement industry. In 2014 US cement consumption increased by more than 6.5Mt, a jump of eight per cent from the previous year, exactly what PCA predicted.