Southeast Business Trends

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In the Southeast region, various hardwood representatives from different states are observing the lumber market to be “Okay”, with White Oak showing notable strength according to one source.

A hardwood sales representative in Tennessee reported that his domestic sales of White Oak are performing well, but he’s encountering difficulties in his export markets.

“We are doing okay. Certain species are moving better than others. White Oak has picked up substantially here recently. It had a little slow down for a while but that is trending up and we are selling more White Oak now. I would describe everything else as ranging from okay to a little below average. Most of our sales right now are domestic. Pretty much every export market has been poor for us at the moment,” the source commented.

He deals with all hardwood species found in the Appalachian region in grades of FAS, No.1 and 2 Common and No. 3A in thicknesses of 4/4 through 8/4 and some 10/4 and 12/4.

His company predominantly caters to architectural and moulding firms, as well as distributors specializing in premium products. He noted that sales to them have been overall good. “You know most of the sales have been decent. I have had a few customers make comments about orders slowing down a bit, but we are still shipping lumber out and getting orders from them.”

Labor shortage remains a challenge for his company. He mentioned that they could likely hire more inspectors, forklift operators, and other positions with additional personnel.

Down in Mississippi one hardwood sales representative mentioned that sales were going well at the time of this writing, but overall are down compared to previous years.

When asked about his market, the Mississippi source commented the following, “We are doing fine right now. Our markets are about as good as they can be. The hardwood frame market seems to be pretty good in our region of Mississippi. Our general lumber sales I would say are down a little bit from the past couple of years.”

He offers White Poplar in 4/4 through 8/4 thicknesses in grades of SAP 1F and Better, No. 1 Common and FAS/1F.

Labor and any other outside factors are not an issue for him at the time of this writing. Like others around the country, he mentioned the recent heat and how it has forced a lot of crews to work shorter shifts and caused a little bit of a slowdown.

In Kentucky, a lumber saleswoman mentioned that her market conditions are generally okay, with some customers expressing that they are currently at full capacity and not accepting new orders.

She sells Red and White Oak, Poplar, Hickory, Soft and Hard Maple in a range of grades and thicknesses and sells to mostly distribution yards and end users. “We are doing okay right now but I am having trouble getting rid of my Poplar fencing,” she added.

When asked about how her customers were doing, she stated, “They are really just saying things are slow which is common at this time of the year but whenever I call around, I am usually hearing about how things are slowing down and not picking up.”

The increasing fuel costs and ongoing labor challenges remain significant concerns for her company and that in her area, finding a skilled worker has become quite challenging.

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

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

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