[Excerpt] In the early 2000s, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Producer Price Index (PPI) program began developing price indexes to cover the new nonresidential construction segment of the U.S. economy. This event was precipitated by feedback from industry analysts, economic agencies, and trade associations indicating that there was a lack of regularly available construction data based on a clearly defined methodology. In particular, the Bureau of Economic Analysis needed price indexes for the calculation of the nonresidential construction segment of the nominal gross domestic product. As a result, five new nonresidential building PPIs were created:
• New warehouse building construction
• New school building construction
• New office building construction
• New industrial building construction
• New healthcare building construction
The types of buildings mentioned in these indexes were selected because they covered a majority of the new, nonresidential building construction segment of the economy.
The new nonresidential building construction indexes were introduced into publication piecemeal between 2005 and 2013. Although these indexes represented a significant accomplishment in terms of expanding PPI coverage, some data users were looking for more detailed price index information for the construction sector.
In December 2016, in response to the requests for regional data, BLS created two additional index structures that reflected more detailed data:
• New nonresidential building construction by contractor type and region (236400)
• New nonresidential building construction by region (236500)
This Beyond the Numbers article explains how these indexes are calculated, what their structures are like, and how analysts can use the data to better understand price movements in the nonresidential building construction sector of the U.S. economy.