Construction Forecasts

News & Analysis

Materials Market Reports Improved in March

05/11/2011 by Jim Haughey, RCD Chief Economist

Materials market reports improved in March offsetting the February declines. But adjusting for the current high inflation in the construction materials market results in a small 1st quarter drop in real sales and a cutback in real production to avoid accumulating unwanted inventory. Inflation adjusted inventory fell marginally but manufacturers’ 1.37 inventory/sales ratio remains stubbornly above the target level of about 1.20-1.30. There will be no significant gain in materials production until materials sales post several strong months of inflation adjusted sales gains. Production gains will begin by midyear and progressively strengthen.

Construction Materials

  Percent Change in…
  1 month 3 months 12 months 3 years
Production 2.2 0.1 5.0 -1.9
Prices 1.6 3.3 5.7 10.4
Orders 1.8 -0.5 -0.5 -10.1
Shipments 1.8 2.9 1.6 -9.7
Unfilled Orders 0.7 5.1 12.1 9.1
Inventory 0.7 2.6 4.9 -9.4
Inv/Sales Ratio -1.0 -0.3 3.3 0.4

Sources: US Dept. of Labor, US Dept. of Commerce, Federal Reserve Board


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