World of Concrete 2012 wraps up Friday in Las Vegas and the show’s 50,000 attendees are optimistic and expect better days ahead.
One indicator of the concrete market is the annual Cement Outlook presented by Ed Sullivan, economist for the Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill. Cement consumption is expected to increase significantly in 2013, the first time an increase has been predicted in the past five years.
While his presentation focused primarily on the infrastructure, he noted there was a “tinge of optimism” for other markets including public utilities, industrial, and retail sectors.
By 2017, cement consumption is expected to reach levels last recorded in 2005. “The construction market is in a 12-year peak-to-peak recovery,” said Sullivan. A number of factors, including a reduction in office vacancy rates as well as unemployment rates must come to fruition before the construction market sees a significant recovery, says Sullivan.
"Jobs will determine the growth rate in the economy and also shorten the healing process," Sullivan said. "The more jobs, the more recovery at the state level, the more construction spending."
A host of GCs and concrete contractors noted an increase in residential and commercial business, however their profit margins are expected remain small in 2012.
Meanwhile, WOC 2012 exhibitors rolled out a series of new products. Maxwell Systems showcased its new construction management software; ProSpec introduced a new high-strength grout that contributes to LEED credits; and Laticrete introduced their Supercap Pump Truck, a mobile blending unit that can deliver up to 15 tons of material per hour. BD+C