PCA's Concrete & Construction Economy Outlook for 2024

Citing factors like the end of COVID-19 relief programs, the lagged impacts of monetary policy, and credit tightening, PCA's Ed Sullivan says that the economy will gradually weaken, but also forecasts that it will recover in the second half.

Pca 2024 Economy
Portland Cement Association

In his presentation during World of Concrete 2024, Ed Sullivan, the Portland Cement Association’s (PCA) Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Market Intelligence, predicted that the U.S. economy may "gradually weaken" during the first half. Yet recover, slowly, in the second. Despite the slowdown, he says that the chance of a recession is unlikely. Some of the factors, he explains included the end of COVID-19 relief programs, the lagged impacts of monetary policy, and credit tightening.

“In terms of the construction outlook, there will be a battle between interest-sensitive construction sectors and less interest-sensitive construction activity such as infrastructure spending and the construction of large manufacturing plants associated with the CHIPS act,” Sullivan says.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) will be a vital factor - representing a potential of $550 billion in spending. According to the official release from the PCA, since the package was signed, the Biden-Harris administration says that some 40,000 IIJA projects are underway or have been completed. 

From the release:

The scope of funding is broad-based with spending on traditional infrastructure such as roads, bridges, airports, rail, water, and sewer systems. There are also generous spending levels for things like resiliency projects and legacy pollutions, broadband internet, and the energy grid.

“The president is right to tout IIJA’s success on the campaign trail — as it was considered an authentically bipartisan bill and has picked up its stride since being launched more than two years ago,” says Mike Ireland, PCA President and CEO.

“Our industries hope the Administration, to include the Environmental Protection Agency, will work with cement and concrete manufacturers to determine the most feasible strategies for us to continue to supply the resilient, sustainable construction materials for infrastructure that the country has come to expect,” Ireland says.