Construction Materials

The producer price index (PPI) for final demand slid 0.3%, not seasonally adjusted (-0.2%, seasonally adjusted), in May and rose 2.0% over 12 months, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. AGC posted an explanation and tables focusing on construction prices and costs. Final demand includes goods, services and five types of nonresidential buildings that BLS says make up 34% of total construction. There are no indexes yet for other building types, residential or nonbuilding construction. The PPI for final demand construction, not seasonally adjusted, rose 0.1% in May and 3.2% over 12 months.

The overall PPI for new nonresidential building construction—a measure of the price contractors say they would charge to build a fixed set of five categories of buildings—increased 0.1% for the month and 3.3% since May 2013. The PPI for new warehouse construction (11% of the index for new nonresidential buildings) slipped 0.1% in May and rose 1.9% over 12 months. The PPIs for offices (34% of the total) rose 0.1% and 3.1%, respectively; the indexes for industrial buildings (13% of the total) and health care buildings (16% of the total) each climbed 0.1% and 3.6%; and schools (26% of the total), 0.1% and 3.9%.

PPIs for new, repair and maintenance work on nonresidential buildings by electrical contractors rose 0.1% and 1.7%; roofers, 1.5% and 3.6%; plumbing contractors, 0 and 4.6%; and concrete contractors, 0 and 1.3%. The PPI for inputs to construction—an average of the cost of all materials used in construction plus items consumed by contractors, such as diesel fuel—was flat in May and up 1.6% over 12 months. Major construction materials with notable one- or 12-month price swings included hot-rolled structural steel shapes, -1.2% and 11%, respectively; and insulation materials, -0.8% and 8.4%.