Lakes States Business Trends – June 2023

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Lumbermen in the Lake States region had good things to say about their markets in recent interviews.

“Our business activity seems to be going well,” said a lumber provider in Illinois.

Compared to six months ago, his business is “a little better,” he remarked. “Prices were better overall six months ago, but some prices have gone up.”

He sells Ash, Hard and Soft Maple, Walnut, Cherry, Hickory and Red and White Oak in 4/4 through 8/4. His best sellers are White Oak, Walnut and Ash.

He sells his lumber mostly to distribution yards and some to end users, including flooring plants. “Sometimes,” he said, “we don’t hear from them about how their business is going, but what you do hear is good.”

Asked about transportation, he replied, “Thank God, after two years of difficulty, transportation is good. We have a couple of big trucking companies we have been working with for three months, so it’s easier to get trucks.”

A Wisconsin sawmill representative noted, “Business is slow, but we are able to move lumber on a regular basis. My Red and White Oak are selling well. However, some other species including Aspen and Basswood are slow movers now.”

In fact, his business activity is not as good as it was several months ago, he stated.

He offers Red and White Oak, Basswood, Hard and Soft Maple, Aspen, Cherry and Hickory mostly in 4/4, some 5/4 and No. 3 Common and Better. White Oak is moving best for him.

He sells his lumber to both distribution yards and end users. “I’d say their sales to their customers are slower than normal. If they need lumber, they’ll call me, and if I don’t have it, they will call someone else. My sales to them are on a short notice basis.

“We have no problem with transportation,” he added. “I’m sure the high interest rates have a lot to do with why people are not buying more lumber.”

In Michigan, a sawmill spokesman said his business is “OK. We had a booming start to the year. After that, we have shipped about what we usually do. Business isn’t booming, but it’s not bad. It’s been about average.”

He said business activity is about equal to what it was before the holidays.

He sells Hard and Soft Maple, Red and White Oak, Hickory, Walnut and Cherry in No. 3 Common and Better, 4/4 through 8/4. His best sellers, he commented, are Red and White Oak, Hickory and Walnut.

His customers are evenly divided between end users and distribution yards. “My customers seem to be busy but not swamped,” he said.
“Transportation is fine,” he noted “However, it’s been really wet with rain, so logging has been a struggle.”

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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