A mid high unemployment and a credit freeze that has delayed or eliminated construction plans, a dip in cement consumption drove down prices during the first half of 2010. Cement prices have fallen in six of the last seven months, including relatively large monthly declines of 1.5% in April and 1.4% in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ producer price index. Related Links: ECONOMICS: With Stimulus Spending Running Out Recession Will Keep Grip on Costs CONFIDENCE SURVEY: Industry Firms Begin To Believe The Worst May Soon Be Over COMPENSATION: Recession Squeezes Salaries HIGHWAYS: Soaring Asphalt and Fuel Prices
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.