Private nonresidential construction spending outperformed other sectors, climbing 11% from 2013. According to AGC's Simonson, warehouse construction was the hottest segment (with 50% growth) followed by offices (24%), manufacturing (16%), oil and gas pipelines and field work (14%), and commercial-retail and farm work (13%).

In its 2014 annual report, Martin Marietta highlighted shale energy projects that helped drive growth, especially in Texas. “The momentum is expected to continue…and new industrial projects along the Gulf Coast are believed to be worth more than $100 billion,” said the producer. Looking back, that might seem optimistic since oil prices have weakened in 2015.

This growth is significant, according to PCA's Sullivan, because of its cement intensity, or the amount of cement consumed per real dollar of construction activity. “Cement intensities have been recovering for several years…most [noticeably] in the nonresidential sector,” he says.

Sullivan equates a 1% increase in cement intensity to a 1% increase in construction activity. He expects nonresidential sector growth to amplify overall cement consumption in coming years.