Lake States Business Trends – June 2024

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Across the Lake States region lumber sources varied, with one source stating that while his sales are average, it does depend heavily on which species is being sold.

In Michigan a lumber spokesperson said that his sales were doing OK at the time of this writing. “We were doing well six months ago, but I think that we are going to be down this month,” he noted. “The demand just isn’t as strong for us as it has been over the past few months.”

His company offers all domestic Hardwood species in mostly upper grades, with some No. 1 Common, and in thicknesses of 4/4 through 8/4. He mentioned that White Oak and Walnut are his company’s best-selling species.

He mainly sells to cabinet and moulding manufacturers. He mentioned that his customers have not offered any comments as to how their sales have been recently.

“We don’t have very many issues with transportation since we have our own fleet of trucks, but it is difficult to keep truck drivers on staff,” he added.

In Idaho a lumberman said that his market is currently soft. When asked if his company’s sales were doing better or worse than they were six months ago, he noted that they are doing a little bit better than they were.

His company offers all domestic Hardwood species in grades No. 1 and 2 Common and in thicknesses of 4/4 through 8/4. “Walnut would have to be our best seller right now,” he remarked.

He sells to remanufacturers and said that he has not heard any comments from them as to how their sales are doing.

A lumber salesman in Illinois said that his sales are average, and that he has noticed some of his items are doing far better than others. “Poplar, Hard and Soft Maple and Red Oak are not doing well, while Ash, Walnut and White Oak are doing well,” he said. “White Oak is driven by the stave mills and the popularity that it has among end users. Walnut is a good dark wood that our customs want, but I think that the demand for Ash is driven more by the lack of supply more than anything.”

He noted that his sales are better than they were six months ago and this is due to his company taking a stronger position on the lumber species that are selling well.

The main species that his company offers are Cherry, Red and White Oak, Hard and Soft Maple, Walnut and Poplar. They offer these species in grades No. 2 Common and Better and in thicknesses of 4/4 through 8/4.

“I sell mainly to distribution yards. They like the 2W’s, Walnut and White Oak. Everything else that I sell to them is consumed on a replacement basis,” he said. “I have not noticed any inventory building, with most of customers strictly buying when the need it.”

He noted that while it is still hard to find good employees that he has been able to retain them by paying them well.

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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