ABC issues news releases on the latest workforce, policy and industry issues, as well as construction-related economic data and trends. Commercial and industrial construction economic analyses include federal data on construction spending, employment, job openings and the Producer Price Index. 

In addition, ABC produces the Construction Backlog Indicator, the only economic indicator that reflects the amount of work that will be performed by commercial and industrial construction contractors in the months ahead, and the Construction Confidence Index, a diffusion index that signals construction contractors’ expectations for sales, profit margins and staffing levels. Methodology for both indicators can be found hereABC construction economic releases are published according to this schedule for 2023 

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Monthly Construction Input Prices Rise in January, Says ABC

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15—Construction input prices rose 3.5% in January compared to the previous month, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index data released today. Nonresidential construction input prices increased 3.1% for the month.

Construction input prices are up 23.6% over the past 12 months, while nonresidential construction input prices rose 24.3%. Input prices for natural gas and unprocessed energy materials fell for the month by 26.1% and 4.7%, respectively. Crude petroleum prices increased 15.5% in January. All three energy subcategories are up significantly on a year-over-year basis.

“While many economists expect inflation to moderate over the course of 2022, as of now, there is effectively no relief in sight for the nation’s contractors,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Inflation remains hot, hot, hot, with estimates of price increases repeatedly coming in above consensus expectations. There was a chunky increase in materials prices in January despite lower natural gas prices. There was also a bit of price relief in metals like iron and steel. But that was more than offset by categories registering price increases, including softwood lumber, plumbing fixtures, concrete and crude petroleum.

“It may seem naive given current data readings, but the expectation remains that, at some point later this year, construction materials prices will moderate.” said Basu. “As the pandemic fades, supply chains will become more orderly. There are already indications that shipping costs are headed lower, and contractors remain optimistic, according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index. Undoubtedly, some project owners will choose to postpone start dates in the hope of securing lower bids during the months ahead. The question is how many months they will need to wait.”

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