ARLINGTON, VA. — Significant price increases continued in July for a wide range of goods and services used in construction in the U.S., according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) of government data released Aug. 12.
The producer price index for new non-residential construction rose 4.4 per cent over the past 12 months. That was a small fraction of the 25.6 per cent increase in the prices that producers and service providers such as distributors and transportation firms charged for construction inputs, the AGC noted.
There were double-digit percentage increases in the selling prices of materials used in every type of construction.
The producer price index for steel mill products more than doubled from July 2020 to last month, increasing 108.6 per cent. The index for lumber and plywood jumped 56.8 per cent despite a large drop in mill prices from May to July. The index for copper and brass mill shapes rose 49 per cent and the index for aluminum mill shapes increased 33.2 per cent.
Among other increases, the index for plastic construction products rose 26.7 per cent, the index for gypsum products such as wallboard climbed 21.6 per cent, the index for insulation materials rose 11.8 per cent, and the index for prepared asphalt and tar roofing and siding products rose 10.9 per cent.
“July was the sixth straight month of double-digit price increases for construction inputs,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, in calling for President Joe Biden to immediately end tariffs and quotas on steel, aluminum, lumber and other essential construction items.
“In addition, lead times to produce or deliver many items keep lengthening. Many reports since the government collected this price data in mid-July show the trend will continue, at a minimum into the autumn and likely beyond, unless tariffs and quotas are removed.”