by Leslie Shaver
In this regular feature, USGlass evaluates glass industry trends for the coming months. Information is gathered from various sources, including confidential industry interviews and reporting by USGlass.
According to the monthly USGlass industry survey, business figures improved throughout the country except on the West Coast. The decline in business on the west coast is attributable to the pounding the region has taken from El Nino. The rise in the Northeast was due in part to the recovery in the region from the ice storms that plagued it in January. The Rocky Mountain region also posted strong figures due to a strong market, while the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast benefitted from mild weather.
Glass sales in March are expected to jump in every region except the Northeast, which may level off following a strong month recovering from the January ice storms. The West Coast also is expected to have a strong month, probably due to an anticipated rise in business following El Nino. The Rocky Mountain regions growth can be attributed to a strong overall market. Business in Southeast, Midwest and Lower Plains is expected to grow at the same consistent clip seen in February.
The number of new housing units started declined slightly in December to 1.51 million ending a three-month growth period of construction. Decembers figure was larger than both the figures for December of 1996 and 1995. Overall, Decembers figure was the third highest of 1997, behind only November and February.
Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate Thousands of Units
|1997 TOTAL||1996 TOTAL|
|Average relative standard error 2% Average relative standard error 2% (r=revised; p=preliminary)|
Contracting for new construction fell two percent in December to a seasonally adjusted rate of $329 billion according to F.W. Dodge, a unit of the McGraw-Hill Construction Information Group. Residential and nonresidential building also dropped off, while nonbuilding construction rose by almost ten percent.
|November 1997||December 1997||% Change|
Source: F.W. Dodge Division, The McGraw-Hill Companies
Total construction increased three percent in 1997, according to F.W. Dodge. Residential construction showed a slight gain in 1997, while nonresidential construction increased seven percent.
|12 Months, 1996||12 Months, 1997||% Change|
|Source: F.W. Dodge Division, The McGraw-Hill Companies|
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