Photo by Jeff Rubenstone for ENR
A company demonstrates a breaker attachment at the 2014 World of Concrete in Las Vegas.

This year's outlook for the construction industry was looking rosy as crowds gathered on the first day of the 40th World of Concrete show, which opened its doors on Jan. 21 in Las Vegas to 50,000 anticipated attendees, 1,000 exhibitors and more than 100 educational seminars.

Ed Sullivan, the Portland Cement Association's chief economist, predicted consumption levels of 86 million metric tons for 2014, an 8.1% year-over-year increase. Sullivan cited a pent-up demand for projects at the state and local levels, particularly in the residential, non-residential and public construction sectors.

Regionally, PCA expects the Southeast and Southwest to be the strongest U.S. construction hot spots, with Florida, Georgia and Arizona expected to have the highest growth rate in 2014.

"It has been some time since you could be this optimistic," Sullivan said.