In Europe, productivity stagnates as prices soar with record inflation


Edoardo Ronzoni surveys a construction site near Milan that closed in March as material costs soared. He can’t complete a half-built roundabout at an intersection notorious for fender-bender crashes because asphalt, cast-iron pipes and concrete are too expensive, prices exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Public works projects in Italy are grinding to a halt just as the European Union injects 108 billion euros ($114 billion) in pandemic recovery money intended to start a construction frenzy.

Mr. Ronzoni laments that his company has already lost its busiest three months and hopes that the worst is yet to come: “We are afraid we won’t be able to work this year. We are closing all of our sites.”

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