CHICAGO--USG Corp. recently reported first quarter net sales of $829 million and net earnings of $26 million.

Diluted earnings per share for the first quarter of 2002 were $0.60 compared with $0.25 in the same period a year ago.

Market conditions for several of USG's businesses improved during the quarter. The housing market was strong, resulting in increased operating rates in the gypsum wallboard industry and higher selling prices.

USG's North American gypsum business recorded net sales of $525 million and operating profit of $58 million, increases of 9% and 287%, respectively, from the first quarter of 2001.

U.S. Gypsum shipments totaled 2.6 billion square feet, 13% above first quarter 2001 shipments and the second highest quarterly volume in the company's history.