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USGS Reports 4th Quarter, Final 2010 Production Volume, and the Numbers are Higher than Originally Predicted.

By Mark S. Kuhar

End-of-the-year statistics are always a cause for pause. Even with the lag time associated with reporting numbers from last year, there is always something enlightening to learn, and something surprising to discover. Such is the case with 2010 aggregates production, as reported by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The estimated annual output of aggregates produced for consumption in 2010 was 2.00 Gt, a slight increase compared with that of 2009. An estimated 479 Mt of total aggregates was produced and shipped for consumption in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2010, an increase of 3 percent compared with that of the same period of 2009.

“A review of the results for the last four years does show a slight increase in construction aggregates production during 2010, providing at least one bright spot as we emerge from these dark times,” said Jason Willett, crushed stone commodity specialist for USGS.

The estimated annual output of crushed stone produced for consumption in 2010 was 1.19 billion metric tons (Gt), a 2 percent increase compared with that of 2009. An estimated 283 million metric tons (Mt) of crushed stone was produced and shipped for consumption in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2010, an increase of 5 percent compared with that of the same period of 2009.

The estimated annual output of construction sand and gravel produced for consumption in 2010 was 820 Mt, a 2 percent decrease compared with that of 2009. The estimated U.S. output of construction sand and gravel produced and shipped for consumption in the fourth quarter of 2010 was 195 Mt, a slight increase compared with that of the same period of 2009.

The above estimates are based on information reported to the USGS quarterly sample survey by crushed stone and construction sand and gravel producers.

The estimated portland cement consumption increased by 9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, and annual consumption was down slightly in 2010, compared with consumption in 2009. This information is obtained from the USGS monthly survey of U.S. cement producers.

By Geography
The estimated production-for-consumption of aggregates in the fourth quarter of 2010 increased in six of the geographic divisions compared with that sold or used in the fourth quarter of 2009. The largest decreases in percentages were recorded in the Pacific (8 percent) and the East South Central (3 percent) divisions. Production-for-consumption of aggregates increased in 30 of the 48 states that were estimated. The estimated total annual production-for-consumption of aggregates in 2010 increased, compared with that of 2009, in 26 of the 50 states that
were estimated.

The five leading states, in descending order of total annual output for 2010, were:

  • Texas.
  • California.
  • Pennsylvania.
  • Missouri.
  • Ohio.
Their combined total annual output was 580 Mt, a 6 percent increase compared with that of 2009.

The estimated production-for-consumption of crushed stone in the fourth quarter of 2010 increased in seven of the nine geographic divisions compared with that sold or used in the fourth quarter of 2009. The only decreases were recorded in the East South Central (5 percent) and the Pacific (4 percent) divisions. Production-for-consumption of crushed stone decreased in 29 of the 46 states that were estimated.

The five leading states, in descending order of production-for-consumption, were:
  • Texas.
  • Pennsylvania.
  • Missouri.
  • Illinois.
  • Florida.

Their combined total production-for-consumption was 97.4 Mt and represented 34 percent of the U.S. total.

The estimated production-for-consumption of construction sand and gravel in the fourth quarter of 2010 increased from fourth quarter 2009 levels in seven of the nine geographic divisions. The only decreases in percentages were recorded in the Pacific (8 percent) and the Mountain (5 percent) divisions. Production-for-consumption of construction sand and gravel increased in 26 of the 46 states that were estimated.

The five leading states, in descending order of production-for-consumption were:
  • Texas.
  • California.
  • New York.
  • Michigan.
  • Arizona.

Their combined total production-for-consumption was 62.8 Mt and represented 32 percent of the U.S. total.

This sample survey generates production-for-consumption estimates by quarters, based on information reported voluntarily by a limited number of producing companies. In most quarters, a few companies may report amounts sold in the current quarter that vary greatly from the amounts reported in the previous year during the same quarter. This change in sales is almost never an indicator of the change in the demand in the state as a whole. The usual cause behind a large change can be attributed to the opening or closing of an operation, weather, or an external force that only the company or one of its operations experienced in that quarter.

Previously-reported data are occasionally revised, and the estimated quantities for the prior quarters are then recalculated. The latest release of the quarterly Mineral Industry Surveys contains the most recent estimated totals and supersedes previously published reports.