How aggregate volumes are trending so far in 2023

By |  June 1, 2023
Hawaiian Cement’s David Gomes says his company was one of the first in North America to partner with CDE. The Puunene Quarry is now six years in with its CDE system. Photo: P&Q Staff

Construction aggregate volumes were down in the first quarter of 2023, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Photo: P&Q Staff

The latest annual U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data shows that aggregate production nationwide remains at a recent high, with the agency estimating last year’s total to be 2.47 billion metric tons (Gt).

USGS makes estimates about aggregate production – including crushed stone, sand and gravel – based on a survey it issues to aggregate producers following each quarter.

According to USGS, crushed stone (1.51 Gt) represented most of the 2022 production total, with sand and gravel (960 million metric tons (Mt)) accounting for the rest. Both marks were slightly above those from 2021 and represent the continued upward path for crushed stone, sand and gravel since production sank during the Great Recession.

Aggregate production reached a low this century in 2010, when it totaled 1.96 Mt. Crushed stone again made up the majority of that year’s total at 1.16 Mt.

How the year started

While aggregate production continues to climb slightly just about every year, the trend of late is that production is moving downward.

Aggregate production dipped for the second straight quarter during the first quarter of 2023, totaling 459 Mt. The total was 2.3 percent lower than the prior year’s first quarter.

Still, aggregate production was down even more in the fourth quarter of 2022. Production fell 7 percent in the fourth quarter last year, with crushed stone production slipping 7 percent and sand and gravel production dropping 9 percent.

Several public producers noted this spring how their sales volumes of late are down, yet they’re making gains through price increases.

“The cumulative effects of our 2022 and Jan. 1, 2023, pricing actions drove robust margin expansion despite continued inflationary pressure and modestly lower aggregates shipments,” says Ward Nye, chairman and CEO of Martin Marietta.

The narrative surrounding pricing and volumes was very much the same in the first quarter at Arcosa.

“Strong pricing momentum contributed to healthy organic revenue growth and solid unit profitability gains, overcoming volume headwinds in our natural aggregates business,” says Antonio Carrillo, president and CEO of Arcosa.

Some public producers pointed to adverse early-year weather as a factor that contributed to lower outputs as they emerged from the first quarter of 2023.

“With extreme weather in parts of our business, this was not the start of the year that we were hoping for,” says Kyle Larkin, president and CEO of Granite Construction, a California-based company whose first-quarter aggregate volumes dropped 21 percent.

Early-year USGS data

Logo: USGSGranite was far from the only producer in the West to experience lower volumes early this year.

USGS data for the first quarter shows that aggregate production in California plummeted 32.7 percent. Production also decreased in Arizona (down 16.7 percent), Washington (down 16 percent), Nevada (down 13.4 percent), New Mexico (down 5.7 percent) and Oregon (down 3.7 percent). First-quarter aggregate production increased significantly in Colorado (up 47.8 percent), though, and it ticked upward in Wyoming (up 8.1 percent).

Nationwide, USGS reports that 459 Mt of aggregates were produced and shipped for consumption in the first quarter. More than a year ago, the agency estimated that 470 Mt aggregates were produced and shipped for consumption in the first quarter of 2022.

USGS says first-quarter 2023 aggregate production decreased in four of its nine geographic divisions compared with the prior-year quarter. Also, production dropped in 17 of the 41 states USGS tracked, with the five leading states in terms of aggregate production being Texas, Florida, California, Missouri and Georgia. The combined production of those five was 152 Mt, a decrease of 8.7 percent versus the first quarter of 2022.

Avatar photo

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

Comments are closed