"Overall construction costs [in March] were unchanged from February and up only 0.9% over the past year," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America. Diesel prices were down sharply, and steel, copper and aluminum continued a downward trend. However, prices for prepared asphalt, lumber and gypsum products increased. "The net effect of these diverse changes is that some contractors may be squeezed out of business if they are caught by an unanticipated price spike," Simonson said.

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