Midwest Business Trends

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Midwest Business Trends 1
By Paul Miller
Vice President

Sources throughout the Midwest region are all in agreement that sales are steady for this time of year and that the market appears to be entering back into traditional seasonal trends.

In Missouri a lumber spokesperson noted that his marketplace is doing surprisingly well at this time of year. “I would say that our sales are better than expected,” he said. “Our sales are off from what they were six months ago, but when considering what we should be earning in either season I would say that we are doing just as well.”

His company offers green Douglas Fir, Spruce-Pine-Fir and Cedar in grades No. 2 and Better and in 2×4-2×12.

He sells to big box stores and pro-contractor yards. “There is concern as to what 2024 will look like. Our sales were down in 2023, but they weren’t down as much as everyone thought they were going to be,” he commented.

He remarked that he hopes that winter stays away, as it doesn’t matter how well your market is doing if you’ve got ice and snow on the ground everything will come to a halt.

A lumberman from Texas said that his sales are slow, at the time of this writing. “We are back into seasonal trends, which we haven’t experienced for the past two-three years.” He went on to note that his sales are steady and comparable to what they were six months ago.

His company offers Douglas Fir in grades No. 1 and Better, with green Douglas Fir making up the majority of their product offerings. They also offer a range of sizes from 4×4 to 20×20 in lengths up to 40 feet. They also offer Western Red Cedar in sizes 4×4 to 12×16 and in lengths up to 40 feet, depending on what they have in stock.

“Douglas Fir is our mainstay and I would say that it is selling better than our Cedar,” he said. He also noted that the Cedar market lost a lot of market share due to COVID and the price point being driven up.

His company sells to retail lumber yards with his customers saying that they are steady and seem to continue to be optimistic for the year. “We tend to have to decide whether they are truly optimistic or if they are just trying to have a positive outlook. Texas does tend to have a stronger market and usually withstands economic downturns better than the rest of the country,” he added.

In Iowa, a lumber sales representative stated that his market has remained strong. “There are a combination of reasons that our market place is so strong right now, including several agricultural and residential projects,” he said, adding that his company is doing about the same as they were six months ago.

His company offers Pine, Fir Larch, Spruce and Spruce-Pine-Fir in premium grades and select struct and in thicknesses of 1x and 2x.

His company sells to contractors and DIYers, noting that they all seem to be busy.

By Paul Miller

Paul Miller President Miller Wood Trade Publications

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