Data recently released by the United States Geological Service shows 103,522 tons of cement were shipped to the state during the month of January 2021. Cement shipments grew by 11.7% over the same period in 2020. The month marks the largest January total in the previous 8 years.
Looking to ready mix volumes, we estimate 383,342 cubic yards of concrete were placed during the month. Like December, the January total bucks the winter slowdown we typically experience in Alabama. Ready mix producers across the state are very busy with house slabs being schedule 2 to 3 weeks out instead of the common next day pour. Data released by the University of Alabama Center for Real Estate shows home building permits through March are up 16.2% over the first 3 months in 2020. Many producers are reporting lack of drivers is limiting their ability to supply jobs.
Examining the national construction indexes, The Home Builder Sentiment in the South stands at 84. Anything above 50 forecast a growth in the homebuilding market. The AIA Billing Index currently stands at 55.6. Anything above 50 predicts a growth in the commercial market. The number represents a 10-point increase from just 2 months ago.