WHEN WE DECIDED to tweak TCP's annual survey project several months ago, we hoped to take some focus off of the revenue figures and put it on other issues that are important to producers. I can safely say that we accomplished that in spades. Out is the TCP100, and in is the TCP Survey.
A record number of producers of all sorts—ready-mixed, precast, prestressed, block, and more—completed their questionnaires and told us the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The good? Most producers expect higher sales in 2012 compared to last year. You feel strongly that you manufacture the best construction material in the world. My favorite comment came from Hoyle Stone Products. Commenting on the concrete industry's greatest strength, the company in Millington, Md., answered, "You can't make items that have a lifespan and are durable out of bamboo."
The bad? Producers want the government—local, state, and federal—off of their backs. You don't like the EPA, jumping through hoops during the permitting process, and the new federal health care law.
The ugly? Despite improved sales, producers still need greater demand in their markets. Housing is still mired in the muck. Only 22% of you said the residential category is performing best this year. I'm surprised it's even that high.
I hope you enjoy this issue which features the newly revamped survey, and all of the other regular departments and columns. Please let me know what you think.
Keeping you Appy
If you are as geeky as me and love crunching numbers and statistics, you might enjoy a new mobile app by the U.S. Census Bureau. The America's Economy app lets you take the pulse of the U.S. economy straight from your smartphone. It provides real-time updates for 16 key economic indicators released from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Bureau of Economic Analysis. Measures include employment, manufacturing, international trade, residential construction and sales, and more. It is currently only available on Google's Android platform, but the bureau says it will be coming soon to Apple for its iPhone and other devices. Visit www.census.gov for more.
Also, please let me know which mobile smartphone and tablet apps you find useful on the job. We will share them with your fellow readers.