World Cement Output & China's Construction Boom
The chart above (click to enlarge) shows annual production of cement by country, in billions of metric tons (data available here: USGS 2006 report and USGS 2008 report).
Cement is mainly used to make concrete, and is sort of the "active ingredient" in concrete - it is combined with sand and gravel in roughly fixed proportions. So cement production can be considered a rough proxy for the total amount of construction going on in a country.
From The Oil Drum, via Ben Cunningham