Materials price inflation continues to ease
Average construction materials prices rose by a slight 0.1% between August and September, following much larger gains over the prior two months. Prices for products used by the construction industry increased at least a bit during each of the first nine months of 2002, following a decline of 0.9% between full-year 2001 and full-year 2002.
Compared to September of last year, average prices received by U.S. manufacturers of construction supplies and materials during September 2002 were up by a cumulative 1.8% — a relatively moderate rise, given the unrelenting upward trend experienced during the first three quarters of this year.
Overall lumber prices declined by 0.9% during September, the fourth time over the past five months that average prices have fallen. This pushed the price index for softwood and hardwood lumber 2.9% lower during September 2002 than it had been a year ago.
Gypsum product prices have been volatile all year, soaring 7.8% between March and June, easing by 3.6% during July, blipping up 1.4% in August, and settling down to a 0.2% rise during September. Average gypsum product prices this September were a steep 10.1% higher than in September 2001, after declining by 22.3% (on an annual average basis of measure) between 2000 and 2001.