What a difference six months can make. During the third quarter of last year construction inflation was still reeling from the impact of record-high steel and oil prices set during the first half of 2008. By the first quarter of 2009, the inflation trend had completely reversed itself. Most major construction cost indexes tracked by ENR declined this quarter. Materials producers are frantically cutting production as prices hit rock bottom. Construction’s unemployment rate jumped into the double digits, and a severe credit crunch is pushing many subcontractors closer to the edge of bankruptcy.

Cost Cut