U.S. cement consumption will continue its growth trend in 2015, according to the Portland Cement Association. During the group’s spring meeting, chief economist and group vice president Ed Sullivan projected that total cement consumption would increase by 7.5 percent from last year and continue to grow in 2016 by 7.9 percent.

“The forecast indicates that the healing in the U.S. has taken place,” Sullivan said. “Industry projections continue to be in line with generally improving economic construction fundamentals.”

Sustained strength to job creation, coupled with a gradual shirt in the mix of jobs toward higher skills and more significant wage pressures suggest added strength to consumer spending. Consumer balance sheets have endured a healing period, and with improvement in the labor markets will be more able to spend than they have in recent years.

Sullivan forecasts that cement and clinker imports will increase to 36.6 percent in 2017, up 24 percentage points from the previous year. He said the rapid growth is projected to continue at an even higher rate in 2018.