US Housing Market Short on Construction Skills, Iron Ore Price Up

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The US housing market has been one glimmer of economic hope in the domestic construction sector – but that may not continue if there aren’t enough construction workers.

Fitch Ratings says that good rates and consumer confidence have “created a worker deficit, particularly skilled labourers such as electricians, plumbers, roofers and masons who are the backbone of the residential construction industry,” according to a Financial Times article.

Construction workers left for other industries such as the growing energy sector, after the housing bubble burst, and now the housing market is having trouble luring them back…

See weekly price trends for steel, iron ore, aluminum and other metals used in the construction indsutry:

So in short, US housing construction isnt’ out of the woods yet – the FT points to “a lack of developable plots, as more builders scramble for land to meet growing demand, and rising construction material costs” as “other factors hampering homebuilders alongside rising mortgage interest rates and tight mortgage qualification standards.”

The week’s biggest mover on MetalMiner’s weekly Construction MMI® was the Chinese low price of 62% Australian iron ore fines, which saw a 1.1 percent increase. Chinese rebar rose 0.3 percent over the past week. Following a steady week, prices for US shredded scrap closed flat. Chinese H-beam steel remained essentially flat from the previous week.

Chinese aluminum bar traded sideways last week. The price of European 1050 aluminum did not change since the previous week.

The weekly US Rocky Mountain bar fuel surcharge declined after drifting 0.5 percent since last week. For the third week in a row, the weekly US Gulf Coast bar fuel surcharge dropped. The weekly US Midwest bar fuel surcharge remained essentially flat.

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The Construction MMI® collects and weights 9 metal price points used within the construction industry to provide a unique view into construction industry price trends. For more information on the Construction MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.