Upward pressure on material prices
Increased turmoil in the Middle East is pushing up oil prices and may be having an effect on U.S. construction materials prices in general, according to Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that materials prices increased 0.4 percent in January and are 5.4 percent higher than one year ago. Nonresidential construction materials prices were up 0.4 percent for the month and are 4.8 percent higher compared to the same time last year. Iron and steel prices increased 1.8 percent in January and are 7 percent higher than January 2011.