For the fifth consecutive month, prices for construction materials increased, rising 1.1% in February according to the March 16 Producer Price Index (PPI) report by the Department of Labor. Year-over-year, construction materials prices are up 6.1%.

Numerous categories experienced significant increases in materials prices in February. Steel mill product prices jumped 4.7% for the month and are up 13.3% year-over-year. Iron and steel producer prices were up 2.8% in February and are up 16.8% over the last 12 months. Nonferrous wire and cable prices increased 1.4% in February and are 11.9% higher from the same time last year. Prices for fabricated structural metal products increased by 0.9% in February and are up 4.6% year-over-year. Prepared asphalt, tar roofing, and siding prices increased by 0.6% for the month and are up 2% over the past 12 months.

Categories in which prices declined include softwood lumber, down 2.7% in February, but up 0.2 % compared to the same time last year. Plumbing fixtures and fittings prices slipped 0.2% for the month, but are up 1.5% year-over-year. Concrete product prices were down 0.2% for the month and down 0.4% from February 2010.

Crude energy prices increased 0.9% for the month and are unchanged from the same time last year. Overall, the nation’s wholesale prices jumped 1.6% in February — the largest increase since June 2009. Year-over-year, wholesale finished goods prices are up 5.8%.

Source: The Associated Builders and Contractors