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Weekly Newsletter




The cost of many products used in construction climbed 7.4 percent over the past year due to double digit increases in commonly-used construction materials, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of new Labor Department data. Association officials noted that the cost increases come as many construction firms are already grappling with shortages of skilled craftsmen essential for projects but have limited ability to increase prices for their services.


“The new construction materials cost data likely under-reports actual price increases, since federal officials collected most of their data in the first half of the month, before new tariffs affecting many construction materials started,” said the association’s chief economist, Ken Simonson. “Contractors are paying more for the materials they use and workers they employ but aren’t able to pass most of those new costs on to their clients.”


Simonson noted that the producer price index for inputs to construction industries—a weighted average of all goods and services used in construction—increased 0.2 percent from August to September and soared 6.2 percent since September 2017, while the index for goods except services rose at a faster pace of 7.4 percent. In contrast, an index that measures what contractors say they would charge to construct five types of nonresidential buildings rose just 3.5 percent over the year, indicating that contractors were absorbing more of the costs than they were passing on to owners.


Diesel fuel, steel pipe and tube, asphalt paving mixtures and aluminum products were among the diverse products that contributed to the large year-over-year cost increases, the economist said. He pointed out that from September 2017 to September 2018, there were producer price index increases of 29.3 percent for diesel fuel, 22.1 percent for steel pipe and tube, 11.7 percent for fabricated structural metal, 11.2 percent for asphalt paving mixtures and blocks and 10.7 percent for aluminum mill shapes. Additionally, the administration recently imposed an interim tariff of 10 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, including goods (link is external) important to the construction industry, and plans to increase the rate to 25 percent in the new year.


A survey the association released in August found that 80 percent of respondents reported difficulty filling hourly craft worker positions. As a result, sixty-two percent of firms report they are paying higher salaries to attract and retain workers. “The more firms get squeezed by higher materials and labor costs, the less likely they are to continue hiring and investing in new equipment,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. View producer price indexes for construction. View the AGC workforce survey and workforce development plan (link is external).




The room block for the 2019 CAWV Midyear Meeting at the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa is almost sold out! Response for the February 8-13 Midyear Meeting has been tremendous and the CAWV is looking at options to obtain rooms at other properties near the Westin Resort. Members planning to attend should contact the Westin immediately to book reservations. For a complete meeting registration packet, including hotel information, click here. For more information, contact Cheryl Clark at 304-342-1166 or email


“We are looking forward to a great program at one of CAWV’s most popular destinations,” said Program Committee Chairman Jamie Ridgeway, March-Westin, Inc. “This year’s Midyear will be a mix of informative business sessions and networking opportunities. I encourage everyone to register quickly in order to guarantee their reservation at this year’s event.”




Tuesday, October 16, is the last day to register to vote or change voter registration before the November 6 General Election. To register or update, please click here or visit your local county clerk’s office. This year’s Midterm Elections have many offices on the primary ballot including:


·         United States Senate

·         United States House of Representatives

·         2 Seats on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals (non-partisan)

·         West Virginia State Senate

·         West Virginia House of Delegates

·         Numerous county and municipal offices


Early voting will be available from Wednesday, October 24 – Saturday, November 3. Additionally, West Virginia’s new voter ID law will be in effect for this election, so voters must make sure they have ID with them when they head to vote.





The CAWV Young Contractors Forum will host the sixth annual Toys for Tots Fall Golf Scramble on Friday, October 19, at 10:00 a.m. at Little Creek Country Club, South Charleston. YCF Chairman Chet Rodabaugh would like to invite all members to participate regardless of age. Members are asked to bring an unwrapped toy to benefit Toys for Tots. Registration and sponsorship information is attached to this week’s Newsletter. For additional information, contact Pat McDonald at (304) 342-1166 or email


Wood County GOP picks Tom Azinger to replace Frank Deem


The Wood County Republican Executive Committee voted Thursday to appoint former Delegate Tom Azinger to replace the late Frank Deem on the ballot this November. Deem died Wednesday at the age of 90. First elected to the House in 1954, Deem served a total of 48 years in the House and state Senate. Most recently, he served four terms in the Senate, ending in 2010. He was again elected to the House in 2014 and re-elected in 2016 and was seeking re-election this November. Azinger served in the House of Delegates between 1995 and 2015 and was always supported by HUB/PAC, the CAWV’s political action committee.




Third Quarter volume dues reports have been mailed to contractor members. Please make every effort to return the report in a timely manner to the CAWV office at 2114 Kanawha Blvd, East, Charleston, WV 25311 or fax to (304) 342-1074. For questions, please contact Rena Moles at (304) 342-1166 or email