The volume of steel used to manufacture cold-formed steel (CFS) framing products in 2018 remained level with 2017 totals, and drifted down 2 percent in the fourth quarter from the volume reported in the third quarter of 2018, according to the latest Quarterly Market Data.  For 2018, CFS manufacturers reported using 1,126,178 total tons (raw tons before processing) of steel, compared with 1,124,193 in 2017.  In the fourth quarter of 2018, the industry-wide statistical survey finds that manufacturers used 268,063 total tons, compared with 273,682 total tons reported in the previous quarter.

The cold-formed steel stud industry is a good leading indicator of non-residential construction demand. Companies in the industry typically produce two major categories of materials, structural studs which are generally installed early in the process as the building shell is being built, and nonstructural studs which are typically used to frame interior walls and similar systems closer to the end of construction. Movements in manufacturing volumes of these products can provide some insight into the current stage of the market cycle.

This report provides buyers and users of cold-formed steel framing in the United States with an industry-wide statistical quarterly summary of the volume of steel (in raw tons before processing) used to produce studs, track, joists, angle, furring channel, hat channel, flat steel, Z furring, clips, purlins, girts, resilient channel, cold-rolled channel, cold-formed truss components, and special cold-formed shapes.  Data is reported for four regions in the United States:  West, North Central, South Central, and East.