ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator is the only economic indicator that reflects the amount of work that will be performed by commercial and industrial construction contractors in the months ahead. The Construction Confidence Index is a diffusion index that signals construction contractors’ expectations for sales, profit margins and staffing levels. View the methodology for both indicators. 


WASHINGTON, May 9—Construction input prices increased 0.9% in April on a monthly basis and 2.4% compared to the same time last year, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released today. Nonresidential input prices rose 0.9% compared to March and are up 2.8% on an annual basis.


Among the 11 sub-categories, seven experienced price decreases last month, with the largest decreases in natural gas (-8.7%), iron and steel (-1.7%), and steel mill products (-1.7%). The four sub-categories that experienced monthly price increases were crude petroleum (+13.9%), unprocessed energy materials (+3.7%), prepared asphalt products (+2.7%) and concrete products (+1.1%). Year over year, prepared asphalt products (+7.5%), steel mill products (+5.8%) and plumbing fixtures (+4.3%) experienced the largest price increases.


“Even though April was the third consecutive month that input prices increased and overall materials prices remained elevated, there is little reason for contractors to be on high alert,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “The increase in materials prices was primarily driven by higher energy prices. In particular, the price of oil mainly rose for political reasons, and therefore is not an indication that materials prices will aggressively increase.


“What’s more, the year-over-year increase in construction input prices is a mere 2.4%, which is only slightly higher than overall inflation and a bit lower than wage growth,” said Basu. “With much of the global economy slowing and given ongoing trade tensions between American and Chinese policymakers, it’s likely materials price increases will remain modest going forward, even in the context of a robust nonresidential construction sector.

ABC construction economic releases are published according to this schedule in 2023

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