ConDig (14-Sept-20). US construction input prices nudged 0.6% higher in August compared with the month prior on rising energy and lumber costs, according to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) analysis of US Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Natural gas prices rose at the fastest rate last month, surging 22.8% compared with August, while softwood lumber input prices increased by 16% due to an emerging boom in single-family home construction.
Crude petroleum and unprocessed energy materials increased 11.4% and 11.7% respectively month on month in August.
The uptick helped offset drops of 1.7% in both prepared asphalt and steel mill products.
“Inflation has been coming in a bit hotter than anticipated, which gives contractors cause for concern,” said ABC chief economist Anirban Basu.
“Other challenges include inducing workers to return to jobsites and reduced demand for nonresidential construction services due to compromised commercial real estate conditions and weak state and local government finances. Recent data stand for the proposition that higher inflation and interest rates also represent future risk factors for contractors.”
Compared with the same period last year, softwood lumber prices were up 45%, while prepared asphalt costs were 1.7% higher.
However, crude petroleum is down 33.3% compared with August last year, while unprocessed energy materials were 21.6% lower.
The overall rise in input cots in August follows a 1.9% increase in July.