From the WSJ article today “Logging Towns Are on a Roll: Housing Recovery Spurs Lumber Demand, Boosting Regions Such as Eugene, Ore.”:
Rising lumber demand stoked by the housing recovery is reinvigorating U.S. timber towns, creating jobs from the sawmill floor to loading dock as the forest-products industry gets back on its feet after a long malaise.
The Eugene, Ore., area is typical. Swanson Group Inc. says it has rehired 200 people out of the 720 positions it eliminated at its area mills during the recession and expects to add an additional 50 by late spring, bringing total employment to 800 compared with 550 in 2009. Another big producer, Seneca Sawmill Co., says it has restored hours for its 375 employees in the Eugene area, who now are almost back to the five-day work weeks they had before the recession. Local Lane County officials say that, with as many as five jobs created for each one in lumber, the resurgence is providing an overall economic boost.
“We’re pumped,” said Glenda Poling, manager of the Lane County Community and Economic Development Division, who added that two other timber companies recently inquired about expanding their local operations. “It’s just feeling really good here.”
Now, underpinning much of Eugene’s rebound are soaring lumber prices. The composite price per thousand board feet of framing lumber more than doubled to $415 as of Friday from $190 in January 2009 (see chart above). That is the highest since 2005 and represents a 46% jump over the past year.
MP: As the chart above shows, framing lumber prices have more than doubled over the last four years to $415 per 1,000 board feet, after bottoming below $200 towards the end of the recession in 2009. Prices are now the highest since early April 2005, almost 8 years ago.