Due to its complexity, much of the subject matter concerning the economy requires detailed editorial commentary, often supported by relevant tables and graphs.

At the same time, though, there are many topics (e.g., relating to demographics, housing starts, etc.) that cry out for compelling ‘shorthand’ visualizations.

Whichever path is followed, the point of the journey, almost always, is to reach a bottom line or two.

To provide additional value, ConstructConnect is now pleased to offer an ongoing series of 1,000-word charts.

These will help readers sort out the ‘big picture’ more clearly.

These 1,000-word charts look at U.S. construction material costs as of March 2021.

Table 1: U.S. Construction Material Cost Changes
From Producer Price Index (PPI) Series – March 2021

Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Charts: ConstructConnect.

Graph 1: U.S. Construction Material Costs (1) – From Producer Price Index (PPI) Series

U.S. Construction Material Costs (1) - From Producer Price Index (PPI) Series

The last data points are for March, 2021.

Data source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Producer Price Index (PPI) series, not seasonally adjusted (NSA).
Charts: ConstructConnect.

Graph 2: U.S. Construction Material Costs (2) – From Producer Price Index (PPI) Series

U.S. Construction Material Costs (2) - From Producer Price Index (PPI) Series

The last data points are for March, 2021.

Data source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Producer Price Index (PPI) series, not seasonally adjusted (NSA).
Charts: ConstructConnect.

Graph 3: U.S. Construction Material Costs (3) – From Producer Price Index (PPI) Series

U.S. Construction Material Costs (3) - From Producer Price Index (PPI) Series

The last data points are for March, 2021.

Data source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Producer Price Index (PPI) series, not seasonally adjusted (NSA).
Charts: ConstructConnect.

Graph 4: U.S. Construction Material Costs (4) – From Producer Price Index (PPI) Series

U.S. Construction Material Costs (4) - From Producer Price Index (PPI) Series

The last data points are for March, 2021.

Data source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Producer Price Index (PPI) series, not seasonally adjusted (NSA).
Charts: ConstructConnect.

Graph 5: U.S. Construction Material Costs (5) – From Producer Price Index (PPI) Series

U.S. Construction Material Costs (5) - From Producer Price Index (PPI) Series

The last data points are for March, 2021.

Data source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Producer Price Index (PPI) series, not seasonally adjusted (NSA).
Charts: ConstructConnect.

Table 2: U.S. Producer Price Index (PPI) Results
% Change in the March 2021 Index from:

  3 Years   1 Year    6 months   3 months   1 month 
  Ago   Ago   Ago   Ago   Ago
                   
Final Demand/Service/Commodity/Energy/Input:                  
Final Demand Construction 10.5%   1.5%   0.9%   0.9%   0.5%
   New warehouse building construction 8.1%   -0.3%   0.6%   0.2%   0.3%
   New school building construction 11.0%   1.0%   0.0%   0.3%   0.0%
   New office building construction 12.6%   3.3%   2.9%   2.6%   1.6%
   New industrial building construction 12.3%   1.9%   0.4%   0.4%   0.1%
   New health care building construction 9.0%   0.8%   0.1%   0.3%   0.3%
Architectural & engineering services 5.1%   1.5%   2.5%   1.6%   0.0%
Construction machinery & equipment 9.4%   1.4%   1.4%   1.3%   0.1%
Asphalt 15.9%   9.0%   28.7%   41.4%   4.9%
Plastic construction products 13.4%   10.4%   8.4%   5.2%   3.2%
Softwood lumber 73.4%   83.4%   10.6%   31.4%   6.8%
Hardwood lumber 12.3%   27.3%   25.9%   15.4%   9.0%
Millwork 17.2%   12.3%   5.6%   5.3%   1.7%
Plywood 32.3%   53.1%   12.4%   23.7%   10.5%
Particle board & oriented strandboard (OSB) 64.8%   64.9%   15.4%   14.0%   11.3%
Gypsum -2.6%   6.2%   8.9%   4.6%   1.4%
Insulation materials 7.7%   5.2%   6.9%   5.1%   0.7%
Construction sand, gravel & crushed stone 12.7%   3.3%   2.2%   2.0%   -0.2%
Cement 6.5%   3.4%   1.0%   1.0%   0.5%
Ready-mix concrete 4.8%   0.7%   0.3%   1.3%   0.4%
Precast concrete products 13.5%   3.7%   3.6%   0.6%   0.2%
Prestressed concrete products 6.9%   0.6%   1.7%   1.7%   0.7%
Brick (clay) 6.5%   3.8%   1.8%   1.0%   0.4%
Coal -5.5%   -0.2%   -0.1%   -0.2%   -0.2%
Iron ore 25.3%   5.7%   3.6%   -1.3%   0.0%
Iron & steel scrap 20.0%   59.5%   52.6%   19.9%   10.8%
Steel bars, plates & structural shapes 19.7%   20.3%   26.9%   21.9%   6.0%
Steel pipe & tube 20.7%   14.5%   19.5%   13.9%   4.5%
Fabricated structural metal products 14.2%   9.4%   9.4%   7.4%   3.3%
Prefabricated Metal Buildings 22.7%   21.8%   18.7%   11.3%   4.2%
Aluminum mill shapes 0.8%   7.4%   9.3%   6.1%   2.1%
Flat glass 5.7%   3.2%   3.2%   0.6%   1.3%
Paints, architectural coatings 16.3%   5.3%   1.7%   1.7%   1.9%
Lighting fixtures 10.0%   1.4%   1.2%   0.6%   0.4%
Plumbing fixtures & fittings 8.9%   1.9%   1.3%   1.3%   0.8%
Elevators & escalators 8.1%   1.2%   1.2%   1.2%   -0.3%
Heating equipment 12.5%   2.6%   2.5%   2.0%   0.6%
Air conditioning equipment 12.2%   4.5%   3.6%   3.2%   1.0%
Copper wire & cable 20.2%   26.7%   16.0%   9.8%   4.1%
Regular gasoline unleaded 7.9%   57.0%   56.8%   48.2%   17.8%
Diesel Fuel 35.5%   79.5%   71.6%   35.6%   15.4%
Inputs to new construction 16.3%   13.5%   7.6%   7.5%   2.6%
Inputs to new residential construction 16.9%   14.3%   6.2%   7.6%   2.4%
Inputs to new non-res construction 15.4%   12.4%   9.2%   7.2%   2.7%
   Inputs to commercial construction 14.8%   11.2%   8.9%   6.5%   2.5%
   Inputs to healthcare structures 15.2%   12.0%   8.3%   6.5%   2.5%
   Inputs to industrial structures 15.4%   10.6%   9.2%   6.2%   2.1%
   Inputs to highways & streets 12.6%   10.2%   9.1%   6.8%   2.6%
   Inputs to power & communication structures 13.9%   12.5%   9.9%   7.5%   2.9%
   Inputs to educational & vocational structures 16.3%   12.6%   8.1%   6.7%   2.6%
Construction materials (PPI ‘Special Index’) 19.2%   16.6%   11.6%   11.0%   4.6%

The ‘final demand’ indices (at top) reflect the prices paid by owners for the construction of projects. They include material, labor & markups.
The ‘service’, ‘commodity,’ and ‘energy’ indices (in the middle section of the table) are based on ‘factory-gate’ sales prices.
The ‘input’ indices (at bottom) reflect costs faced by contractors. They exclude capital investment (i.e., machinery & equipment), labor & imports.
The ‘input’ indices are built up from the ‘service’ (design, legal, transport & warehousing, etc.) ‘commodity’ and ‘energy’ indices.

Data source: Producer Price Index (PPI) series from Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Table: ConstructConnect.


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