In March 2001, shrinking global markets, reduced consumer spending, and declines in domestic manufacturing and industrial output ended the longest economic expansion in U.S. history and pushed the Nation’s economy into its first recession in more than a decade (Berry and Pearlstein, 2001; U.S. Geological Survey, 2001a, b). Exacerbated by the terrorist attacks of September 11, the recession led to large reductions in the domestic production of processed mineral materials. Some of the most significant production declines in the U.S. metals industry were registered by aluminum, copper, and steel producers who faced strong foreign competition, higher energy costs, and lower prices for their products. Nevertheless, home-building and other domestic construction sectors—major consumers of nonmetallic mineral products such as cement, brick, glass, and stone— remained strong enough to help raise the total output of industrial mineral materials slightly above previous year levels (table 1). A strong U.S. dollar relative to other national currencies continued to weaken the competitive stance of U.S. metal and nonmetal mineral materials companies alike against foreign producers in markets at home and abroad.