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IndustryNet Blog

U.S. lumber companies report solid growth as construction rebounds

Posted by IndustryNet on Tuesday, October 17, 2017



100000124LumberCompaniesIndustryNet data shows lumber companies have gained some ground over the past year, posting an increase in jobs, as well as bringing in robust sales in certain sub-sectors. This article will take a look at some key indicators for lumber companies, and explore some of the factors affecting sales and employment.

We’ll also take a look at regional differences, and examine which areas of the U.S. are experiencing the most growth. Finally, we’ll explore some growing lumber companies in the U.S.

According to IndustryNet data, jobs in the lumber industry rose 1.3% over the past year, with growth varying significantly by sector and geographic area, Currently, there are 3,054 lumber suppliers operating in the U.S., employing 73,227. The following is a breakdown of growth numbers over the year.

Job growth

The most notable expansion of the workforce has taken place in plastic lumber, timber formed of virgin or recycled plastic. During 2016, the reported increase in employment in this sector is 144.23 percent. Lesser improvements and declines have been reported in other segments of the industry.

Reported growth of employment has been highest in the South, at 37 percent, with data from 38 companies; followed by the Midwest at 23 percent with data from 24 companies; the West at 22 percent with data from 23 companies; and the Northeast at 19 percent with data from 20 companies.

Sales

Total reported sales in the lumber industry are $29,181,099,811.50. The top category is pressure-treated wood at $3,137,649,994.50 - 0.17 percent increase compared to the previous year. It is followed by:


Wholesale lumber at $1,784,199,987.50 - 0.63 percent decrease

Hardwood at $1,269,899,980.50 - 1.76 percent increase

Hardwood wholesale at $538,349,994.50 - 0.38 percent increase

Kiln-dried lumber at $311,849,990.00 - 3.53 percent increase

Yellow pine $224,500,000 - 0.30 percent increase

Softwood $209,249,998.00 - 5.47 percent increase

Remanufactured lumber $160,249,999.50 - 0.98 percent increase

Retail lumber $153,249,999.50 - 1.53 percent decrease

Pine $149,549,999.00 - 0.63 percent increase


Housing needs, exports increase demandConstructionLumber

Historically, increases in lumber sales have correlated with the catastrophic effects of hurricanes. This growth can be expected to continue with the reconstruction of homes and businesses damaged or destroyed by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and others.

Also, increasing exports of hardwood to China are contributing to industry growth. Continuing disputes regarding tariffs and the restriction of sales of Canadian softwood in the U.S. are expected to have an effect as well. As Canadian imports decrease, U.S. sales expand to fill the gap.

The more than doubling in employment in plastic lumber can be attributed to several factors. One is the desire of busy homeowners for easy maintenance. While plastic lumber can be produced with an appearance that simulates wood and can be bent and worked with traditional woodworking tools, it is waterproof and resistant to mold and rot.

A large selling point is that it does not require painting. To meet environmental concerns, unlike wood-plastic composites, it is completely recyclable. It is also available in a variety of colors to suit consumer tastes.

Top lumber suppliers 

Bingaman and Sons Lumber, Inc., of Kreamer, Pennsylvania, the leader in sales growth, is an example of a company providing products that meet emerging needs. Specializing in hardwoods, it stocks many species, both native to Pennsylvania and imported.

It also operates a kiln. Bingaman caters to the preferences of both the consumer and the building industry, producing lumber in a variety of thicknesses, grades and custom colors. Products include hardwood glued laminate timber, a replacement for all-aluminum curtain wall systems, and thermally modified lumber that can stand up to climate stresses without the danger of chemical preservatives leaching into the ecosystem.

UFP Belchertown, LLC, of Belchertown, Massachusetts, a leader in both sales and employee growth, specializes in pressure-treated wood. With affiliates in both North America and Australia, it supplies wood composite products to retail, construction and industrial markets.

Spurred by improvements in technology and environmental demands, its products include engineered woods, one-panel insulated sheathing and prebuilt insulated headers.

Serving the demand for hardwood products utilized in the construction of homes, Baird Bros. Sawmill, Inc., of Canfield, Ohio, another leader in sales growth, provides lumber, both virgin and remanufactured, and plywood. Other building components offered include custom moldings, floorings, doors, butcher blocks and mantles.

Softwood is derived from trees, such as conifers, which have needles and exposed seeds. It is by far the leading source of the world's timber. Employed for both interior and exterior construction, softwood is also used for boats, cladding, chipboard, particle board and furniture.

The leading producers of softwoods in the United States are Weyerhaeuser Co. and Georgia-Pacific, LLC, which are also among the top 10 companies by number of employees.

A softwood supplier that leads in employee growth is Potlatch Corp, Wood Products Div., of Warren, Arkansas. Potlatch produces lumber from Southern yellow pine, which is used for roller coasters and utility poles in addition to its extensive applications for home construction.

Tangent Technologies, LLC, of Aurora, Illinois, the leader in employee growth, produces plastic lumber. They offer both structural and nonstructural products. Examples of structural products include dock walks, boardwalks and fishing piers. Nonstructural offerings, sold business to business, include fabricated products, such as outdoor furniture for decks and patios.

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