Knowledge is power--especially when it comes to the economy.

AISC collects and analyzes industry data. The snapshot on this page tells part of the story of where the industry stands today. 

Full-member fabricators get a more detailed report quarterly. Our Structural Steel Specialists also provide free, customized data briefings for firms throughout the AEC community--contact your local Specialist to schedule one.

Monthly Parallel Flange Section Consumption in the U.S.

This index tracks the pulse of the structural steel industry, showing the rise and fall of steel used in building construction and the ability of U.S. mills to meet demand.


The 12-month average of consumption in July was 405,600 tons per month or 4.9 million tons per year (a 8.6% drop below July 2022’s index).

The 12-month average of parallel flange imports currently accounts for 7.75% of all parallel flange sections consumed in the U.S, up 1.4% compared to the same time last year.

Source: Steel Manufacturers Association

Where the data comes from:

Parallel flange consumption is determined by mill shipments, plus imports, minus exports. This index is a measure of the rise and fall of consumption relative to January 2005.  

Typical Mill Pricing

This data is a good indication of mill pricing today but does not reflect lead times or section availability.


Like most other goods and construction materials, rolled section pricing rose sharply throughout 2021. This followed a decade with little price fluctuation.

Source: Nucor Yamato Steel, Steel Dynamics and US Bureau of Labor Statistics

You’ll note that we also track scrap pricing.

Because rolled sections are made of recycled steel scrap and melted with electricity, scrap and power are the main drivers of cost changes. (There are, of course, many other components and market dynamics involved.) Historically, observing the price of scrap alone has been a good indicator of fluctuations in structural steel prices. While scrap does not tell the whole story, what goes in must cost less than what comes out, so it will always have an effect.

One easy way to cut costs:

Because material is less than one-third of the cost of the building’s framing system, and the frame is around 12% of the project cost, a 5% increase in the price of steel represents less than one-fifth of 1% of the total project cost.

You can further optimize your design and reduce costs by bringing an AISC member fabricator on board early. Around 70% of the cost of a steel package comes from fabrication and erection, so this early collaboration can pay off in a big way!

Where the data comes from:

Each month, AISC averages published pricing from domestic wide-flange mills. 

Producer Price Index - Structural Materials

This index is a great way to compare the cost of structural building products relative to their change over time, but the price of all structural materials rise significantly between the original production facility and its entry onto the market as a functional building product.Factors such as labor, installation/erection, and material transport will often make up a larger portion of the overall cost no matter what the material type.

For example, the price of steel shapes, bars and plates only represents the material from the mill. It does not account for fabrication or erection of the steel on site. Similarly, the price of ready-mix concrete does not include the price of the reinforcing steel, steel placement, formwork, or finishing labor.   


The price of steel shapes, bars, and plates is dropping. Prestressed, ready-mix, and precast concrete prices continue to rise, setting a new record since AISC began analyzing this data in 2020. Softwood lumber prices remain volatile but are trending down at a slower rate than they had been.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Where the data comes from:

The Producer Price Index (PPI) program measures the average change over time in the selling prices received by domestic producers for their output. The prices included in the PPI are from the first commercial transaction for many products and some services.

Dig into additional PPI graphs for the steel industry here


Full members may also visit to access a more robust set of interactive market and construction statistics as well as AISC's quarterly Business Barometer.

The full data is only available to full members, but AISC's Structural Steel Specialists offer complimentary data briefings for architects, engineers and others in the industry. Contact your local Structural Steel Specialist to learn more about market trends in your specific region.