According to the latest Producer Price Index report, the prices of inputs to residential construction less energy (i.e., building materials) decreased 0.2% in April 2023 (not seasonally adjusted). The index has gained 0.5%, year-to-date, which is the smallest April YTD increase since it climbed 0.3% over the first four months of 2020.
The PPI for goods inputs to residential construction, including energy, was unchanged over the month as a 1.7% increase in energy prices offset declines in other product categories. The index has declined 0.8% over the last 12 months but is 23.9% higher than the level suggested by the pre-2020 trend.
Gypsum Building Materials
The PPI for gypsum building materials fell 1.1% in April after increasing in February and March. Gypsum building materials prices are 12.1% higher than they were a year ago but began stabilizing in September 2022. Prices have increased 0.6% the seven months since.
The PPI for softwood lumber (seasonally adjusted) increased 6.2% in April–the first increase since July 2022 and just the second since March 2022. Prices have increased 0.9% YTD but are 40.1% lower than they were one year ago.
Ready-mix concrete (RMC) prices increased 0.4% in April after climbing 0.9% in March. The monthly increase was the smallest since prices fell 0.3% in March 2022. RMC prices have risen 1.8%, year-to-date, and 12.4% over the past 12 months.
The monthly increase in the national data was driven by prices in the West and Northeast which climbed 2.0% and 1.6%, respectively. Prices saw smaller increases in the Midwest (+0.2%) and South (+0.5%). Year-to-date, prices have increased the most in the Northeast, followed by the West, Midwest, and South regions.
Steel Mill Products
Steel mill products prices increased 3.1% in April after climbing 3.1% in February and March combined. Although this was the third consecutive monthly increase and the fourth over the past year, prices have fallen 14.8% over that period.
The price index of services inputs to residential construction increased 1.0% in April after climbing 0.4% in March. Prices have declined 13.0% over the past year but are 26.3% higher than the pre-pandemic level at the start of 2020.
Transportation of Freight
The price of truck and deep sea (i.e., ocean) transportation of freight decreased 1.7% and 0.4%, respectively, in April while the PPI for rail freight increased 0.4%. Trucking freight prices have declined 8.5% over the past year. The prices of long-distance and local motor carrying have fallen 10.0% and 4.1%, respectively.