BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS. DIESEL FUEL, 1985=100. ASPHALT, 1981=100. Rising crude-oil and fuel costs will take a toll on highway projects this spring, says Anirban Basu, chief economist at Arlington, Va.-based Associated Builders and Contractors. "The spike in petroleum prices is a major concern," Basu says, adding, "This type of [hike] could become increasingly problematic for both the broader economy and the nation's construction industry."Rising oil prices were reflected in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' producer price index for diesel fuel, which peaked at a year-to-year increase of 50% last July. As of last month, the annual inflation rate for
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.