In the August 2007 update to the North America Industrial Spending Index published by Industrial Information Resources (, the value of active industrial projects in North America was up 34.5% compared with 2006. It continues a strong growth trend throughout the year, which peaked at more than 40% increases in June and July.

More than $282.3 billion in active industrial projects have begun construction or are scheduled to begin construction in North America in 2007. The alternative fuels industry continues to experience the largest increase in growth with more than $44 billion in active projects for 2007. Explosive growth is occurring in this industry as hundreds of ethanol and biodiesel plants move forward.

Petroleum refining is the second largest growth industry in 2007 with 200% growth measured. The industry is planning to begin construction of more than $21 billion in capital and maintenance projects in 2007. Record profit margins and rising demand have domestic refiners ripe for capacity expansion and modernization projects.

Here are some other industrial hotspots:

  • Midwest: Project spending for the Midwest region from January through August has been robust with 441 projects valued at $19.7 billion. This total includes 354 capital projects representing $19.4 billion and 87 maintenance projects valued at $279 million. For the remainder of the year, project spending for the Midwest region appears to be active with 196 capital and maintenance projects valued at more than $13 billion scheduled to kick off between September and the end of the year.


  • Illinois: Illinois has been having a banner year in terms of capital and maintenance spending. As one of the leading states in the manufacturing-rich Great Lakes region, Illinois typically sees approximately $5 billion worth of investment annually. However, with the boom in the alternative fuels market, 2007 has seen more than $7.3 billion worth of project activity already begun in construction this year in Illinois, and the fourth quarter will only boost that number as an additional $5.7 billion in projects are planned for that time period within the state. An additional $22 billion worth of capital and maintenance work is already scheduled for construction in 2008.


  • Rocky Mountain Region: The Rocky Mountain region has added 372 new industrial sites to the region from the beginning of 2000 until now. Statistics for new plant openings in the region are fairly consistent from 2000-04 with an average of 45 facilities being added each year. The outlook for the remainder of the decade indicates that the Rocky Mountains will continue to flourish. A 63% increase is expected because of the proposed 237 new plants, including 112 pegged to start up in 2008.


  • Southwest Region: Industrial Info Resources is tracking an estimated $45.7 billion in total capital and maintenance planned to begin construction in 2008 in the Southwest market region as part of its North American Project Database. This level of spending matches activity identified in the same period last year almost exactly when spending was forecast at $45.3 billion.