The price of construction materials and other inputs rose again in February, driven in part by an increase in the cost of steel and aluminum.
Officials at the Associated General Contractors of America said President Donald Trump’s recently announced tariffs on steel and aluminum threaten to make matters only worse.
“Moreover, today’s report only reflects prices charged as of mid-February,” said Ken Simonson, AGC chief economist. “Since then, producers of steel and concrete have implemented or announced substantial additional increases, and the huge tariffs the President has imposed will make steel, aluminum and many products that incorporate those metals even more expensive.”
The producer price index for inputs used in construction – which tracks the cost of goods and services commonly used in the industry – increased by 0.6 percent in February and by 4.4 from February 2017.
AGC officials reported in a release that many construction companies have said the tariffs will raise many firms’ costs. The officials noted that companies will often enter into fixed-price contracts that give them no room to raise their prices when materials and supplies become more expensive.
“Tariffs may help a few producers but they harm contractors and anyone with a limited budget for construction,” said Stephen Sandherr, AGC chief executive officer. “The best way to help the U.S. steel and aluminum sector is to continue pushing measures, like regulatory reform and new infrastructure funding, that will boost demand for their products as the economy expands.”Follow @TDR_WLJDan