Robust construction activity unlikely until 2005, cement association says

The U.S. economy is set to move into high gear in 2004, but robust construction activity will not arrive until 2005, the Portland Cement Association predicted in a report released Dec. 18.

“The seemingly contradictory outlook is based on the prospects of cooling single-family construction under the weight of rising interest rates, a delayed and muted improvement in commercial construction activity and a public construction sector still coping with state-level fiscal crises,” said Edward Sullivan, chief economist of PCA.

PCA foresees the emerging economic recovery creating jobs, escalating wage gains and leading to stronger capital gains. Combined, these factors should strengthen state tax bases, resulting in a gradual easing of fiscal stress, the association says. PCA projects 2.7 percent to 3 percent growth in cement consumption for 2005 through 2008.

To view the complete new release including residential, nonresidential and public construction outlooks, click the link to the right.