According to the February 16 Producer Price Index (PPI) report by the U.S. Department of Labor, prices for construction materials rose by 0.9 % in January — the fourth straight monthly increase. Inputs to construction industry prices are 4.9% higher from January 2010.

Iron and steel prices jumped 4.7% in January and are up 16.4% over the last 12 months. Softwood lumber prices increased by 3.6% for the month and are up 8.7% year-over-year. Steel mill product prices rose 2% for the month and are up 11.5% from the same time last year. Prices for fabricated structural metal products posted the largest monthly increase since August 2008, up 1.2% in January and up 4% from the same time last year. Prices for plumbing fixtures and fittings inched up 0.3% for the month and are up 1.4% year-over-year. Prices for prepared asphalt, tar roofing, and siding increased by 0.1% for the month and are up 3.6% from January 2010.

Non-ferrous wire and cable prices decreased for the first time since last July, down 0.8% in January but still 9.1% higher from the same time last year. Concrete product prices slipped 0.8% in January and are unchanged year-over-year.

Crude energy material prices increased by 1.9% in January, but are down 4.3% from the same time last year. Overall, total wholesale goods prices were up 0.8% in January and are up 3.6% from January 2010.

“It may be that the inflation people have been predicting for months is finally here,” said Associated Builders and Contractors’ Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Energy prices rose again, but the bigger story revolves around the broadening of inflation in other categories.”

Source: Associated Builders and Contractor