Projected percentage increase in cement consumption in 2011, according to the most recent economic forecast from the Portland Cement Association (PCA). This number is expected to increase to 8.5% in 2012 and swell to 18.5% in 2013. “The economy clearly has entered a stage of self-sustaining growth, but impediments to a construction recovery are so large that it will take until 2012 to see significant increases in activity,” says Edward Sullivan, PCA chief economist. “Tight lending standards, declining property values, and reduced state infrastructure spending all need to be resolved for a true recovery in construction.”
Source: Portland Cement Association
Approximate number of points the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) fell in April. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. Following several months of relatively positive business conditions, the April ABI score was 47.6, a dramatic decrease from 50.5 the previous month. This score reflects a sharp decrease in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 55.0, down from a mark of 58.7 in March, but still at a healthy level.
Source: American Institute of Architects
Percentage of small- and mid-sized manufacturing respondents to Prime Advantage’s third annual Group Outlook Survey who indicated their companies were making changes toward developing more sustainable products, largely driven by customer requirements and compliance regulations. While 40% of respondents who source products from off-shore vendors are planning to bring sourcing back to North America in the near future, indicating a rebalancing in sourcing strategies, another 60% noted that they plan to add more off-shore partners.
Source: Prime Advantage
Level of the Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American conditions in May, which is down from the 57.1 mark recorded in April, marking the seventh consecutive month the index has topped the 50 point mark. (A reading above 50 indicates more panelists reported better conditions compared to the previous month than reported worse conditions.) The EBCI for future North American conditions also dipped in May, declining to 81.8 from 85.7 in April. Nevertheless, readings above 80 are exceptionally strong, having been recorded in only 23 months in the decade-long history of the survey. In May, more than 68% of panelists said they expected conditions to improve during the next six months, while less than 5% anticipated deterioration during that time period.