Prices for Wood, Other Construction Materials far Outpace Other Commodities, BLS Says

By Craig Webb
Government’s latest PPI report shows annual price hikes of as much as 27%

Wholesale prices for construction products–particularly wood–have risen several times faster than for wholesale goods overall, today’s Producer Price Index report shows.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) monthly report found softwood plywood prices were 26.9% higher in February than in the same month in 2017 and had risen 5.3% just since January. Meanwhile, wholesale prices for wood trusses rose 17.3% and 4.6%, respectively, while laminated veneer lumber prices rose 4.8% for the year and 0.1% over the month. Millwork products rose 4.4% for the year and 1.2% for the month. (See tables, starting on page 19.)

In contrast, producer prices overall excluding the volatile food, energy, and trade sectors have risen 2.7% over the past year. The producer price index generally focuses on costs of raw or semi-processed materials as well as the machines used to create products. What retail customers pay is covered in a separate consumer price index report.