Construction input prices see slight rise in February

Softwood lumber prices climbed 3.5% higher above the prior month but are 45.1% lower on a year-over-year basis.
Lumber and wood product prices are down 14.9% from a year ago.

Construction input prices edged upward by 0.4% in February compared to the previous month, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index data released today. 

Overall construction input prices are 2.6% higher than a year ago, while nonresidential construction input prices are 2.8% higher. 

Softwood lumber prices climbed 3.5% higher than a month ago but 45.1% lower on a year-over-year basis. 

Lumber and wood product prices were flat for the month and down 14.9% from the same period a year ago.

Gypsum products saw a 1.3% increase in February and are 11.7% higher than February 2022 prices. 

Compared to the prior month, Adhesives and sealants are up 0.8%, concrete products edged upward 0.5%, insulation materials slipped 0.8%, construction machinery and equipment inched forward 0.4%, and iron and steel products saw a 2.9% rise.

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Natural gas prices fell sharply in February, down 41.4%, while crude petroleum prices rose 7.3%. Unprocessed energy materials prices were down 9.1% for the month.

“While the February construction materials price inflation data appear benign, a peek behind the headline numbers indicates that price pressures remain abundant,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “As an example, the price of brick and structural clay tile expanded 3.4% for the month and is up nearly 9% over the past year. The price of copper wire and cable increased 3.3% on a monthly basis and is up 40% since February 2020. In large measure, sharp declines in energy prices have pushed headline numbers lower in recent months, but there is plentiful evidence of lingering materials price inflation and supply chain challenges in the data."