Average construction material/supply prices rose by 0.5% from July to August. Prices for construction industry products increased at least a bit during each of the first eight months of 2002, after a decline of 0.9% from full-year 2001 to full-year 2002. It hasn't amounted to much, though, in terms of underlying inflationary pressures. Compared with August of last year, average prices received by U.S. manufacturers of construction supplies and materials during August 2002 were still up only a cumulative 1.4%.
Overall lumber prices eased 0.6% during August, the third time during the past four months that average prices fell. Consequently, the price index covering all softwood and hardwood lumber was 2.8% lower during August 2002 than it had been during the same month of 2001.
Gypsum product prices - which had soared by 7.8% from March to June - eased by 3.6% during July. But inflation re-emerged in August, as the price index for this volatile product group rose 1.4% above its July level. So average gypsum product prices this August were 16.8% higher than during August 2001 - after declining by 22.3% (on an annual average basis of measure) from 2000 to 2001.
Average prices were lower this August than during August 2001 for ceramic floor and wall tile products (-17.7%), lumber (-2.8%), structural steel (-2.7%), flat glass (-0.8%) and ready-mix concrete (-0.6%). Prices had risen during the 12 months ending in August 2002 for gypsum products (+16.8%), asphalt/tar shingles (+4.4%), unitary air-conditioning units (+2.4%), builders' hardware (+1.7%), plumbing products (+1.0%), paving asphalt (+0.7%) and hand/edge tools (+0.4%). The price composite covering the full range of construction materials and supplies was 1.4% higher this August than during August 2001.