An unexpected and extremely large price increase for power cranes and excavators shattered over five years of price stability in the construction equipment market, according to the latest producer price indexes released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In June, the BLS index for power cranes and excavators jumped 8.4%, pushing the annual escalation rate for the index from 0.9 to 9.4%. This follows a 1.2% decline in the index during the previous year.

The huge price hike for power cranes and excavators appears to be an isolated event. BLS indexes for paving equipment, crawler tractors and air compressors all held steady in June, while prices for tractor shovel loaders rebounded 0.1% after falling 0.2% during May. Prices for wheeled tractors fell 0.9% in June, mostly negating a 1% increase over the previous three months, says BLS.

If the price increase for cranes and excavators holds, it will be the biggest jolt to the overall construction equipment price index since 1997 (ENR 6/24 p. 29). The spike in crane and excavator prices lifted the overall index 1.3% in June. The impact on the overall annual inflation rate was to raise it from 0.4 to 1.7%.