Aggregates Manager

January 2014

Aggregates Manager Digital Magazine

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While most operators don't expect to be dazzled, most anticipate favorable business ratings for 2014. by Therese Dunphy, Editor-in-Chief 22 F or a decade, Aggregates Manager has asked operators to assess business conditions and production rates for the current year and upcoming year. We share this information to help operators benchmark their own operations, and, hopefully, develop an accurate picture of future conditions so they can plan accordingly. Based on operator feedback, it is apparent that 2013 was neither the best of times, nor the worst of times. According to the 2013-14 Aggregate Manager Forecast Survey, the percentage of operators reporting excellent business results retreated from previous year for the first time since 2010, with just 3.8 percent who opted for the top rating. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the percentage of operators who described business conditions as poor fell below 10 percent for the first time since 2006, with 6.7 percent of operators who selected the lowest rating. A true picture of conditions, however, may be better illustrated in the mid-range results. More than double the percentage of operators characterized 2013 business conditions as very good, compared to the prior year, while smaller percentages of improvements were seen among operators who reported good (37.1 percent in 2013, compared to 32.7 percent in 2012) and fair (30.5 percent in 2013, compared to 37.6 percent in 2012) business conditions. From an overall perspective, 62.8 percent of operators described positive business ratings (excellent, very good, or good) compared to the 37.2 percent who characterized business conditions as fair or poor. During 10 years of Aggregates Manager Forecast Surveys, positive business ratings have ranged from a low of 34 percent in 2009 to a high of 84.5 percent in 2004. Those business ratings were borne out in production volumes. While more operators were likely to say that production increased (44.8 percent in 2013, compared to 33.7 percent in 2012), the average increase fell slightly from 14.3 percent in 2012 to 13.3 percent in 2013. On the plus side, fewer operators reported decreased production (18.1 percent in 2013, compared to 25.7 percent in 2012) and the size of the average decrease fell from 25.0 percent in 2012 to 18.2 percent in 2013. Local markets, local results While national results highlight overall trends, regional disparities were certainly in play throughout 2013. Operators in the North Central states were the most likely to report excellent business conditions (7.1 percent), followed by the Northeast (5.3 percent), and the South (2.9 percent). None of the operators in the West who answered the survey reported excellent business conditions. In fact, nearly one in five operators in the West (19 percent) chronicled poor conditions, while an additional 38.1 percent described the year as fair. Operators in the North Central (7.1 percent) and the South (2.9 percent) also reported poor conditions, with each percentage mirroring that AGGREGATES MANAGER January 2014 Forecast_AGRM0114.indd 22 12/13/13 9:03 AM

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