No substantial recovery is expected in nonresidential construction in the U.S. in 2011 or 2012, Ed Sullivan, chief economist for the Portland Cement Association, said in his fall forecast report issued in November.

“Without a significant improvement in expected return on investment, commercial construction will remain depressed,” Sullivan said.

On the residential side, “a significant improvement in residential construction cannot begin until the foreclosure crisis is over,” he said. “This is not expected to materialize until 2012.” PCA forecasts 476,000 housing starts this year, 492,000 in 2011, and 690,000 in 2012. This is quite bearish compared to the National Association of Homebuilders, which forecasts 479,000 this year, 655,000 in 2011, and 970,000 in 2012.

For roads and public works, Sullivan says the current political climate may mean there will be no new highway bill until 2013, although a window does exist from March to September 2011. For all public construction, PCA forecasts a 0.1% increase in 2011, 6.4% in 2012, and 13% in 2013. For more, visit www.cement.org.