Slowdown predicted by cement industry economist

The latest economic forecast from the Portland Cement Association (PCA) indicates no growth in cement consumption for the rest of 2010, followed by a small increase next year.

The Skokie, Ill., trade association said that the “economic momentum that was gathering steam early in the year has dissipated to a large extent,” resulting in a predicted 0.3% rise in cement consumption in 2010. Next year the consumption of cement should grow by 1.4%, the organization said, with a 4% increase expected in 2012. A period of sustained growth is forecasted for 2013 and beyond.

“Unfortunately, future gains in construction activity are dictated by labor conditions today,” said Edward Sullivan, PCA’s chief economist. “Slow job growth leads to slower home purchases and start activity. It undermines the speed at which state deficits can heal impacting public construction, and implies low occupancy rates for the non-residential market.”

While small percentage gains could characterize each of these segments during the next two years, substantive cement consumption volume gains are unlikely to materialize until 2013, the PCA said. This implies a phase of cement consumption reflecting only modest growth for the near term.