I was in Houston last month for the AGG1 show. Trade shows are great to re-connect with old friends – producers as well as manufacturers – and meet new ones; see the latest equipment and technology; and take the pulse of the industry.
I can tell you based on my many conversations the state of the industry is quite good. There is still a lot of industry optimism, despite aggregates production being flat last year and no real action coming from Washington on promised infrastructure investment.
Right now the industry is running on optimism. That is certainly a good place to be, and a nice staging area for an industry ready to take off. But the waiting game continues. Will we get that $1.5 trillion shot in the arm any time soon?
While we are all waiting, here are two pieces of good news.
- A new report finds quarries do not reduce home values. In a new policy paper entitled “Quarry Operations and Property Values: Revisiting Old and Investigating New Empirical Evidence,” Phoenix Center scholars Dr. George S. Ford and Professor R. Alan Seals of Auburn University analyze the relationship between home prices and quarry operations and find no compelling statistical evidence that either the anticipation of, or the ongoing operation of, rock quarries negatively impacts home prices. If anything, the Phoenix Center’s scholars find that home prices fall – not rise – as the distance from the quarry increases. A full copy of Phoenix Center Policy Paper No. 53, “Quarry Operations and Property Values: Revisiting Old and Investigating New Empirical Evidence,” may be downloaded free from the Phoenix Center’s website at www.phoenix-center.org.
- According to the most current data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is safer to work in a quarry than a retail store. Preliminary estimates indicate that aggregates operations attained a new record low injury rate in 2017, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration. This year’s rate is estimated at 1.74 per 200,000 hours worked, is lower than that of a retail operation. This translates to less than two reportable injuries for a workforce of 100 miners over the course of a year.
Hope you can use this information somewhere – while you are waiting.
Mark S. Kuhar, editor