Volatile construction material prices continue to afflict contractors. The analysis of material costs by the Associated General Contractors of America shows that while some material prices fell in August, annual material costs have increased by almost 8% in the last year -- often lowering contractors' bottom lines. "The disparity between contractors' materials costs and their selling prices threatens to push some firms and their hard-pressed workers out of business," said Ken Simonson, AGC chief economist.

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