In the Northeast region, various sources from different states provided insights into the market conditions. While one source described the situation as slightly improving and steady, another source commented that their markets were starting to cool down. Additionally, consistent with other sources, White Oak sales have been performing good at the time of this writing.
In Pennsylvania a Hardwood saleswoman said that her markets slowed down overall but she is having some success with the demand for her White Oak.
“It seems to have gotten a little slower. I think it is the typical end of the summer slowdown especially with the heat we have all had. The White Oak has been a bright spot for us and is helping us get through these tough times. White Oak prices seem to be staying stable and there is a fair demand for it but, overall business is just slow.”
She sells all the Pennsylvania species, but her main two are Red and White Oak. “White Oak is our best seller right now. Normally it is Red Oak, but we have just been in tracts of timber that is heavy to White. We do some Poplar, Soft and Hard Maple, and a little bit of Ash,” she added.
Moulding, millwork, stair and flooring manufacturers make up the majority of her customers and she commented that they seem to be steady but are struggling with labor. “Some of the end users are busy, but they are struggling with labor. It is taking everything they can do to keep up with orders. I think a lot of them could be taking in more orders, but I just don’t think they have the workforce to do it.”
As for her company’s own labor, she commented “We have not really hired any new employees and are just working with what we got. I think if somebody good would come in we would hire them, but we are working this way because the demand just isn’t there.”
In Maine, a Hardwood salesman had a slightly different take on the markets. He mentioned a small uptick in activity and expressed some optimism for the future markets.
He commented, “Things seem to have picked up a little bit. Demand is still about the same, but supply has diminished a little so there isn’t much out there on the market. Overall, it does feel like there is some optimism in the market and we are getting more calls than we were, but it is still not near the levels we would like them to be at.”
His company handles Hard and Soft Maple, Yellow Birch, and Ash in Grades Prime FAS through pallet industrial and in thicknesses 4/4 through 8/4. “Hard Maple is our biggest species; it’s our best species and it is also our worst species. Some of it goes right out the door and other parts of it just sit and sit,” he added.
He said that his customers include distribution yards, kitchen cabinet manufacturers and wholesalers.
When it comes to labor and other factors, he highlighted that electricity costs, insurance rates, and fuel expenses have been impacting his business. He mentioned, “It’s getting increasingly challenging to turn a profit these days.”
In New York, a Hardwood sawmill representative shared, “Everything is moving, and we are steady, just at a price we don’t like.” Similarly, to what other sources have mentioned, White Oak has proven to be a popular and well-selling item.
His sawmill primarily deals with Red and White Oak, along with a smaller amount of Hard and Soft Maple and Cherry, in various thicknesses ranging from 4/4 to 8/4. He mentioned, “White Oak seems to be the hot item out there at the moment and I am hearing that from others as well.”
He sells his lumber to mostly Hardwood distribution yards and end-use manufacturers and commented, “It seems like everybody is still steady and getting orders. I think it just comes down to the price for them.”
When asked about labor and any outside factor concerns, he mentioned that he wasn’t facing any issues at the time of this writing.