Cost of Construction Equipment Up in 2003

Construction equipment manufacturers kicked off 2003 with their largest price increase in six months. January's 0.7 percent increase left the average price tag for construction equipment 2.5 percent higher than a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This is the largest year-to-year price increase recorded by BLS in several years. January's increases were led by a 3.1 percent price hike for wheel-type tractors, which pushed prices for this category of equipment 2.6 percent above a year ago. Prices for highway paving equipment broke over a year-long period of stability with a 1.5 percent price increase, leaving prices for mixers, pavers and spreaders 1.7 percent above 2002's level.

Prices for shovel loaders increased 0.9 percent during the month and are up 1.6 percent for the year. During the same period, tire prices posted a monthly increase of 1.8 percent and an annual increase of 3.4 percent.

The largest year-to-year price increases reported by BLS have been for power cranes and excavators. Producers of this type of equipment were able to extend last summer's large price hike with another 1.1 percent increase in January. Crane and excavator prices now are 8.5 percent above last year's level.

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