Cold-Formed Steel Framing Volume Declines by 9 Percent Sequentially in Third Quarter

December 2018

Following a sequential 7 percent increase in the volume of steel used to manufacture cold-formed steel framing products in the second quarter of 2018, the third quarter survey of manufacturers finds that volume decreased 9 percent from the second quarter. According to the latest Nonresidential Market Volume Report released by the Steel Framing Industry Association, CFS manufacturers reported using 273,682 total tons (raw tons before processing) of steel in the third quarter of this year, down from 302,078 total tons reported in the previous quarter.
Other first-quarter highlights include the following:

  • Total structural tons reported: 131,588.
  • Total nonstructural tons reported: 117,654.

(Note: Companies participating in the CFS survey have the option of reporting total tons, or tons of structural and nonstructural products. Consequently, the figures for structural and nonstructural tons may differ from total tons. In these instances, the figure for total tons always provides the most complete picture.)
In addition to market data, the SFIA report includes analysis by the Thompson Research Group on trends and factors that impact the specification and use of cold-formed steel framing in the United States. Most companies surveyed in the Nonresidential Market Volume report that the decline in third-quarter manufacturing volume is largely due to a run-up in stud purchases by distributors in the second quarter ahead of the steel tariffs. The general sentiment now is that distributors have worked through much of the inventory that was built up in the second quarter, and manufacturers in several regions are reporting increasing volume at the close of the third quarter. Companies that were surveyed for the report generally expect manufacturing volume to be flat or grow slightly in 2019, constrained by the shortage of labor in all sectors of the construction industry.
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