As mason contractors struggle in a down market, it's not surprising that brick manufacturers have shut down capacity to try to make production meet demand,

None are producing all-out and most are operating their facilities at only a fraction of capacity. "We're producing at 60% of capacity today, and it could be going down later in the year and over the winter," says John Belden, vice president of sales at Belden Brick in Canton, Ohio.

Belden ships product from Minneapolis to St. Louis, Nashville, Washington, D.C., and the Northeast. "No area is doing better than any other, which is surprising," says Belden. "Normally, you have some areas betters than others, but right now everybody is pretty slow.

"Right now everybody is working on a job or two or three, when they're normally working on six, eight, 12, or 15 jobs," Belden adds.

Other manufacturers are seeing the same.

Glen-Gery Corp., of Wyomissing, Pa., is operating at 40% capacity, which is 620 million, and does not anticipate any change for quite some time, said a company spokesman. Glen-Gery, a division of Oldcastle, operates 10 manufacturing plants throughout the East and Midwest.

Boral USA said in late August that it was utilizing 34% of it brick-making capacity, with "a number of plants mothballed but ready for market recovery."

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