Building construction costs expected to increase 4 percent this year

Area construction labor market growth modest

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Building construction costs are expected to rise 4 percent in 2017, according to Minneapolis-based Mortenson Construction.

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Mortenson, which tracked Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Seattle for its report, found in the fourth quarter of 2016, construction costs in the Milwaukee area rose 1.7 percent compared to the third quarter.

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“This is the strongest growth the index has seen in over the last several years, and hints at a possible acceleration of growth moving forward,” according to the report.

For the entire year, the Milwaukee index increased 3.5 percent.

At the same time, Milwaukee’s construction labor market growth has been modest, growing 2 percent in the latest quarter. This suggests that wage pressures will be less than they were in 2013 and 2014 when the market was growing more quickly.

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The highest growth areas were in flooring and carpentry, traction and elevators and steel framing, which were all over 2 percent, according to the report.

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