PCA chief economist provides 2024 outlook

By |  January 24, 2024

Photo: PCA logo

Ed Sullivan, chief economist at the Portland Cement Association (PCA), anticipates the U.S. economy will gradually weaken during the first half of 2024 but will likely slowly recover in the second half.

Sullivan, who also serves PCA as senior vice president of market intelligence, shared that prediction and others during a press conference at World of Concrete 2024 in Las Vegas. He says some determining factors for this year’s forecast include the end of COVID-19 relief programs, lagged impacts of monetary policy and credit tightening.

He adds that despite an expected economic slowdown, the chance of a recession this year is unlikely.

“In terms of the construction outlook, there will be a battle between interest sensitive construction sectors and less interest sensitive construction activity such as infrastructure spending and the construction of large manufacturing plants associated with the CHIPS act,” Sullivan says.

Also vital to the construction industry this year is business driven by the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA), Sullivan says, which represents $550 billion in new infrastructure spending. Since it was signed into law in 2021, the Biden administration says approximately 40,000 IIJA projects are underway or have been completed, according to Sullivan.

The scope of funding is broad-based with spending on traditional infrastructure such as roads, bridges, airports, rail, water and sewer systems. There are also generous spending levels for things like resiliency projects and legacy pollutions, broadband internet and the energy grid.

“The president is right to tout IIJA’s success on the campaign trail, as it was considered an authentically bipartisan bill and has picked up its stride since being launched more than two years ago,” says Mike Ireland, president and CEO of PCA. “Our industries hope the administration – to include the Environmental Protection Agency – will work with cement and concrete manufacturers to determine the most feasible strategies for us to continue to supply the resilient, sustainable construction materials for infrastructure that the country has come to expect.”

Related: PCA elects new board leadership

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About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or jkopanski@northcoastmedia.net.

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