Trade Dispute Increases Construction Costs, Data Shows

| July 11, 2018

Arlington, VA – Construction costs accelerated again in June, with steep increases for a wide range of building and road construction materials as tariffs against foreign goods come into effect, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of new Labor Department data. Association officials say that contractors will have to assume much of the costs as tariffs increase the costs of many key construction materials.

The construction economist noted that the producer price index jumped by 20.0 percent for aluminum mill shapes, 17.4 percent for copper and brass mill shapes and 12.3 percent for steel mill products between June 2017 and June 2018. Other construction inputs that rose sharply in price from May 2017 to May 2018 include diesel fuel, 52.8 percent; lumber and plywood, 18.3 percent; asphalt felts and coatings, 7.5 percent; ready-mixed concrete, 5.5 percent; and paving mixtures and blocks, 5.0 percent.

The producer price index for inputs to construction industries, goods—a measure of all materials used in construction projects including items consumed by contractors, such as diesel fuel—rose 9.6 percent over 12 months. The year-over-year increase was the steepest since October 2008, Simonson noted.

 

 

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