Construction materials prices are 8.9 percent higher than they were a year ago, according to the Producer Price Index report by the Department of Labor. Prices rose 0.3 percent in July.
Two segments of construction inputs were associated with particularly large changes in prices for the month. Asphalt, tar roofing and siding prices rose 2.4 percent in July and were up 4.8 percent year over year. Nonferrous wire and cable prices increased 2.3 percent for the month and are 16.6 percent higher than the same time last year.
Many inputs experienced much smaller monthly price increases, such as iron and steel, which saw increases of 0.5 percent for the month and 14.3 percent over the last 12 months. Similarly, steel mill product prices were 0.5 percent higher for the month and 11.8 percent higher year over year; fabricated structural metal products prices grew 0.4 percent in July and are 5.5 percent higher than the same time last year; and plumbing fixtures and fittings prices increased 0.4 percent in July and are 3.2 percent higher than July 2010.
Inputs whose prices remained relatively flat included concrete products, up 0.1 percent for the month but down 0.1 percent from the same time last year, and softwood lumber, down 0.1 percent for the month and up 0.1 percent compared to one year ago.
Total crude energy prices fell 2.6 percent in July as crude petroleum prices dropped 5.2 percent. However, crude energy prices are still 14.1 percent higher than a year ago. Wholesale goods prices increased 0.2 percent for the month and are up 7.2 percent year over year.