First Look – October 2014


Economic Benefits

A new study by NAM offers a view into the economic benefits the U.S. economy would reap with a more concerted effort to address the nation;s infrastructure needs.

Safety Milestone

The Beckmann Quarry, owned and operated by Martin Marietta Materials, celebrated a milestone of reaching two million consecutively logged employee hours without a reportable incident or incident of lost time.

Quarry Raises Money for Charity

Lafarge’s Presque Isle Quarry hosted the first annual Stoneport 5K Quarry Run/Walk to benefit the Cancer Center at Alpena Regional Medical Center.


The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration announced that federal inspectors issued 131 citations and 11 orders during special impact inspections conducted at 12 coal mines in August. Inspection personnel monitored the communications systems at mines to ensure no advance notification was given to underground sections by mine personnel. MSHA issued five unwarrantable failure orders and six citations during the inspection. No aggregates operations were targeted during the August inspections.


According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the nonmetallic mineral products leading index decreased 0.2 percent to 240.3 in August from a revised 240.9 in July, and its six-month smoothed growth rate decreased to 5.3 percent from a revised 6.8 percent in July. The six-month smoothed growth rate is a compound annual rate that measures the near-term trend. A growth rate above +1.0 percent is usually a signal of future growth in industry activity, while a growth rate below -1.0 percent points to a decrease in activity. The still high nonmetallic mineral products leading index growth rate is indicating that the recovery in the nonmetallic mineral products industry is likely to continue in the near term.

  • At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $540.6 billion, new construction starts in August dropped 9 percent, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw Hill Financial. The decline followed July’s elevated volume, the strongest so far in 2014, and brought activity back to the average pace reported during the first seven months of this year. Highways were up 7 percent, while bridges were up 9 percent.
  • Sales of newly built, single-family homes increased 18 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000 units in August, the highest level in six years, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • A new economic analysis from BMP Capital Markets reports that most indicators suggest that the U.S. economy is finding its form at long last. It is almost all systems go for the consumer outlook, with confidence, auto sales and job growth at their best levels since pre-recession days.


WTI crude oil futures price – 9/29/2014: $94.57/bbl, up $3.05 from week earlier; down $8.30 from year earlier.

Natural gas futures price – 9/29/2014: $4.154/mmBtu, up $0.304 from week earlier; up $0.565 from year earlier.

Retail gasoline price – 9/29/2014: $3.354/gal, up $0.001 from week earlier; down $0.071 from year earlier.

Retail diesel price – 9/29/2014: $3.755/gal, down $0.023 from week earlier; down $0.164 from year earlier.

Weekly coal production – 9/20/2014: 18.833 million tons; down 0.343 million tons from week earlier; up 0.043 million tons from year earlier.

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