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PCA, USGS confirm hard figures in 2015 cement, aggregate consumption gains

Sources: U.S. Geological Survey; Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill.; CP staff

The recently released PCA U.S. Year-End Report finds 2015 cement consumption rising 3.8 percent above prior year figures, to 105 million short tons, while a companion document from a principal PCA data source—the U.S. Geological Survey—shows a 6 percent increase for construction aggregates shipments over the same window.

Citing USGS year-over-year cement totals by division, PCA notes that Pacific grew at the most rapid pace, 9.1 percent; West South Central logged the only decrease, -3.0 percent against 2014 figures, yet on a volume basis still represented the largest share (20+ percent) of the national market. Low ocean-freight rates, a strong dollar and weak global economic conditions factored heavily in a 34.4 percent increase in cement imports from 2014 to 2015, European mills more than doubling their westbound shipments.

USGS commodity specialist Jason Willett estimates U.S. construction aggregate consumption of 2.5 billion tons in 2015. Sand & gravel shipments totaled 931 tons, a 5 percent increase over 2014; USGS estimates 48 percent of that volume representing aggregate for ready mixed and manufactured concrete. Top states for 2015 sand & gravel production in descending order were Texas, California, Minnesota, Washington and Michigan.

USGS tracked 1.5 billion tons of crushed stone shipments (70 percent limestone, 13 percent granite) in 2015, a 7 percent gain over the prior year. Top states in descending order for crushed stone production were Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan; their combined 2015 output was 735 million tons, up 7 percent year-over-year.