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Construction Materials Prices Hold Steady

Overall construction materials prices remained flat in May but are up 1.6 percent year over year according to the June 13 Producer Price Index release supplied by the U.S. Department of Labor. Nonresidential construction materials prices fell 0.2 percent for the month but are 1.3 percent higher than at the same time one year ago.

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Construction Employment Still Increasing

Construction employment expanded in 218 metro areas, declined in 72 and was stagnant in 49 between May 2013 and May 2014, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials warned that job losses could spread to more metros unless policy makers in Washington quickly agree on providing new funding for the federal highway program.

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May Construction Retreats 5 Percent; Highways Up

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $513.4 billion, new construction starts in May dropped 5 percent from the previous month, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw Hill Financial. The reduced pace for total construction starts reflected a moderate loss of momentum for nonresidential building and housing, while the nonbuilding construction sector eased back slightly.

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Senators Offer Bold Plan to Increase Gas Tax

U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) unveiled the first bipartisan proposal to shore up the Highway Trust Fund by making changes to the federal motor fuels tax, which funds improvements to roads, bridges and transit systems. The proposal would create a long-term, stable funding mechanism for the Highway Trust Fund and enact tax relief for American families and businesses.

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Housing Production Falls 6.5 Percent in May

Declines in both single- and multifamily starts pushed nationwide housing production down 6.5 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of just over 1 million units, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. However, single-family permits, which can be an indicator of future building activity, rose 3.7 percent.

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