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Construction material costs rise

After nearly one year of decline, prices for construction materials rose 1 percent in August. Despite the increase, on a year-over-year basis, construction materials prices are down 7.4 percent.

Materials experiencing increases include softwood lumber, up 10.9 percent for the month, but still down 8.7 percent from a year ago. Nonferrous wire and cable prices jumped 6.2 percent in August, but are still down 9.8 percent from August 2008.

In contrast to the overall increase in construction materials prices, prepared asphalt, tar roofing and siding products dropped 7.5 percent in August, but are 7.9 percent higher from August 2008. Prices for fabricated structural metal products inched 0.1 percent lower on a monthly basis and are down 8.7 percent from August 2008. Prices for plumbing fixtures and fittings remain fairly steady, down 0.1 percent over the past three months and up 0.4 percent on year-over-year basis.

Crude energy prices increased 6.9 percent in August, largely driven by crude petroleum prices, which surged 19.6 percent during the month. However, crude energy prices are still down 45.7 percent from August 2008. Overall, the nation’s wholesale level increased 1.7 percent in August, but is still down 4.3 percent from the same time last year.

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