Construction material prices outpace overall goods in October

The Producer Price Index for construction materials continues to rise faster than overall PPI for finished goods, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recently released data for October.

The PPI for materials and components for construction rose 1.3 percent for the month, while PPI for all finished goods increased .7 percent. Construction material prices escalated 5 percent for the 12-month period, even though the 12-month figure included a 1.1 percent decline in prices for lumber and plywood, materials used very little in nonresidential construction. Prices for the following construction materials have led the 12-month increase:

· Copper and brass mill shapes — up 21 percent
· Asphalt — up 18 percent
· Gypsum products — up 15 percent
· Plastic construction products — up 13 percent
· Concrete products — up 10 percent

Steel prices over the past year ranged from a 4-percent decrease for fabricated steel plate to a 4-percent rise for fabricated structural metal for buildings. During this same period, prices for construction machinery and equipment rose 5 percent.

Construction is still clipping along at a rapid pace, however, with single-family housing increasing 6.6 percent, multi-family housing ramping up 7.9 percent and highway and street construction escalating 16.3 percent.