The latest Portland Cement Association (PCA) forecast has projected significant weaknesses for the construction industry through 2010, due to the economy. The report predicts a 12.8% decline in cement consumption in 2008, followed by 11.9% and 2.1% declines in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The continued drop in residential starts and economic factors are contributing to this decline.

“Several economic factors are negatively influencing the construction industry,” says Ed Sullivan, chief economist for the PCA. “High energy prices, the sub-prime crisis, the meltdown of our financial markets, inflation, job losses, and tight lending standards are combining to create weak economic conditions and the emergence of huge state deficits. Public construction accounts for nearly half the total cement consumption in the United States, and states in poor fiscal condition will need to cut back on this spending.”

The PCA forecast also reports that cement consumption in residential declined 31.7% in 2008 and is expected to reach 16.9% in 2009. The market is expected to rebound in the second half of 2010, leading to a 12.1% increase for that year. In the nonresidential market, consumption is expected to decline 22.2% in 2009, with the public sector declining 6.6%.

Recovery isn't expected until 2011, with a 10.3% increase and a return to near-record consumption levels by 2013. To view the entire report, visit