Construction Cost Data Shows Effect of Trade Disputes as Aluminum and Steel Costs Increase, Rate of Cost Increases Hits Recent High

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.

“Contractors’ costs for a wide range of materials and services have escalated dramatically in the past few months, putting a squeeze on profits and dimming the outlook for both public and private projects,” said the association’s chief economist, Ken Simonson, noting that the U.S. imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union on May 31 and has since announced over $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods. “Tariffs that took effect or have been announced since this price data was collected will push costs up even more.”

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