Some insights on near-term economic construction recently presented at the Hanley-Wood CEO Forum by PCA's chief William Toal.

Toal suggest that while consumer spending is projected to be down from last year's levels, real consumer spending rates are far from recession levels. And, while there has been a drop in the rate in the actual number of new housing starts, Toal believes that the number will pick up again in 2002 and continue to increase.

Perhaps the industry's strongest growth will come from the nonresidential market segment. This segment is pushed by growth in the educational subsection and by governmental buildings.

Toal's numbers show that there's been a steady increase in the ratio of portland cement consumption to construction spending. He attributes this to the increase in the number of concrete pavements and, to some minor degree, the increase in cement products used in the construction of above-grade homes.