The Economist: Construction Wages Going Up Thanks to Labor Shortage

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Since the market bottom of 2008 it has usually been pretty easy for specialty contractors to find workers to add for big projects. Not anymore.

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The Economist reports that, though still a shadow of its former size, construction is experiencing something it has not felt since the housing bubble peaked: labor shortages. Builders complain that they cannot find enough carpenters, laborers and estimators. It is too soon to call it a seller’s market, but wages are starting to respond.

A 2.4 percent improvement on the weekly Construction MMI® made European 1050 aluminum the week’s biggest mover, closing at EUR 2,139 ($2,915) per metric ton. Chinese aluminum bar traded sideways last week, hovering around CNY 14,200 ($2,273) per metric ton.

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The price of Chinese rebar rose 0.6 percent to CNY 3,210 ($513.77) per metric ton after falling 1.8 percent during the previous week. Closing at CNY 970.00 ($155.25) per dry metric ton, the Chinese low price of 62% Australian iron ore fines remained unchanged for the week. US shredded scrap remained essentially flat from the previous week at $385.00 per short ton. Prices for Chinese H-beam steel remained constant, closing the week at CNY 3,230 ($516.97) per metric ton.

With a 1.0 percent decrease, the weekly US Midwest bar fuel surcharge closed the week at $0.53 per mile. The weekly US Rocky Mountain bar fuel surcharge closed last week at $0.55 per mile, after a 0.7 percent drop. Following a 0.3 percent drop, the weekly US Gulf Coast bar fuel surcharge finished the week at $0.51 per mile.

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.

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