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Credit: Tom Bagsarian

Glacier Northwest supplied concrete for an expansion project at a hospital in Seattle. PCA says construction will decline significantly this year.

Construction and cement consumption in the U.S. will decline significantly this year, according to the Portland Cement Association (PCA). Portland cement consumption will drop 10% this year, followed by another 3.6% decline in 2009. Total U.S. cement consumption will total 102.7 metric tons this year.

“High fuel prices, acceleration of home foreclosures, and the impact of the sub-prime crisis on credit standards are some of the current conditions that lead us to believe the economy is already in a recession,” Ed Sullivan, PCA's chief economist, said in mid-March. “Even when there is recovery later this year, it will not immediately affect the construction and cement industries.”

But there is good news on the horizon. The economy will strengthen the second half of 2009 as home inventories are burned off and credit terms ease. This will lead to a 5.2% increase in cement consumption in 2010, followed by an even stronger gain in 2011. Visit www.cement.org.