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Prices for construction materials climb

Prices for construction materials continued their increase during the month of May.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, materials and supplies rose 0.7 percent, with prices 5.9 percent higher than May 2009. This also marks the seventh month in a row that prices have climbed.

Leading the commodities, the prices of asphalt, tar roofing and siding saw the largest monthly percentage change, and were up 4.6 percent. Additionally, softwood lumber, iron and steel, and wire prices, all jumped from that same time period last year.

Overall, the nation’s wholesale prices fell in May. The biggest contributor of that decline was a dip in energy and food prices.

“The struggling economy is causing both non-residential and residential construction to continue to slump, with the exception of a handful of stimulus impacted segments such as highway/street and conservation/development,” said Anirban Basu, chief economist for the Associated Builders and Contractors.

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