Following the recession of 2001, restrained consumer spending, declines in domestic manufacturing and industrial output, and increased unemployment led to an expansion of only about 2% in the domestic economy during 2002. Significant production declines in the U.S. metals industry were registered by copper, lead, and zinc producers. Steel producers, despite a slight improvement in output, continued to face strong foreign competition, higher energy costs, and lower prices for their products. 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 in markets at home and abroad compared with foreign producers.