First Look – July 2014

Senators Offer Tax Plan
U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) unveiled a bipartisan proposal to shore up the Highway Trust Fund by raising the federal motor fuels tax.

DeFazio Introduces Transportation Bill
The Repeal and Rebuild Act would create American jobs, fix the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, and break the transportation-funding impasse.

Lehigh Hanson Recognized
Company honored for the development and implementation of new sales reporting and analytics tools.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced that federal inspectors issued 172 citations, 21 orders and two safeguards during special impact inspections conducted at 10 coal mines and two metal and nonmetal mines in May. MSHA began an impact inspection on May 13 at BCJ Sand and Rock Inc. in Butte County, Calif. MSHA inspectors issued 19 citations and 17 orders to the mine operator.

An estimated 292 million Mt of crushed stone was produced and shipped for consumption in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2013, an increase of 3 percent compared with that of the same period of 2012. The estimated annual output of crushed stone produced for consumption in 2013 was 1.19 Gt, a slight increase compared with that of 2012.

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $513.4 billion, new construction starts in May dropped 5 percent from the previous month, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw Hill Financial. The reduced pace for total construction starts reflected a moderate loss of momentum for nonresidential building and housing, while the nonbuilding construction sector eased back slightly.

Declines in both single- and multifamily starts pushed nationwide housing production down 6.5 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of just over 1 million units, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. However, single-family permits, which can be an indicator of future building activity, rose 3.7 percent.

Construction employment expanded in 218 metro areas, declined in 72 and was stagnant in 49 between May 2013 and May 2014, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America.

WTI crude oil futures price – 6/30/2014: $105.37/bbl, down $0.80 from week earlier; up $8.81 from year earlier.

Natural gas futures price – 6/30/2014: $4.461/mmBtu, up $0.015 from week earlier; up $0.896 from year earlier.

Retail gasoline price – 6/30/2014: $3.704/gal., down $0.000 from week earlier; up $0.208 from year earlier.

Retail diesel price – 6/30/2014: $3.920/gal., up $0.001 from week earlier; up $0.103 from year earlier.

Weekly coal production – 6/21/2014: 18.544 million tons, up 0.289 million tons from week earlier; down 1.045 million tons from year earlier.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

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