In 2012, the estimated value of mineral production increased in the United States for the third consecutive year. Production and prices increased for most industrial mineral commodities mined in the United States. While production for most metals remained relatively unchanged, with the notable exception of gold, the prices for most metals declined. Minerals remained fundamental to the U.S. economy, contributing to the real gross domestic product (GDP) at several levels, including mining, processing and manufacturing finished products. Minerals’ contribution to the GDP increased for the second consecutive year.
Trends in other sectors of the domestic economy were similar to those in mineral production and consumption rates (Table 1). After continued decline following the 2008-2009 recession, the construction industry began to show signs of improvement late in 2011 and throughout 2012, with increased production and consumption of cement, construction sand and gravel, crushed stone and gypsum, mineral commodities that are used almost exclusively in construction.