The lumber industry is bouncing back from the 2008 recession at a slow and steady pace that has experts hopeful of a full recovery within the next couple years. Many mill owners and lumber retailers are reporting increasing sales, feeling cautiously optimistic about the potential for regaining the business that was lost when the economy crashed. It’ll probably take a while to get back to the historical highs the industry reached in 2004-2006, but in the meantime, growth seems particularly notable in the DIY sector.
According to fresh figures from the Institute for Supply Management, makers of wood products are among the top performers in a swath of industries that expanded in February 2016, suggesting that manufacturers are gaining economic traction across the board.
Low lumber prices mean tight margins for producers right now, but they’re leading to a spike in interest in wood-centric construction projects. While the price of lumber has risen over the last two years, it’s still phenomenally low, encouraging many consumers to choose wood instead of steel or concrete when building their own projects. Slow housing recovery is projected to cap domestic lumber markets this year, predicts Forest2Market, a wood supply chain management firm, but it’s only a matter of time before lower unemployment levels lead to a boost in demand for housing.
Meanwhile, officials around the world are adjusting building codes to allow for taller wood buildings, opening the door to a whole new era of wood construction. Experts are calling it ‘the dawning of the timber age,’ predicting that wood will overtake steal and concrete in new construction, especially in urban centers where wooden high-rises are seen as the sustainable, renewable, aesthetically superior wave of the future.
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