The weekly changes in the price of diesel and lumber give a quick snapshot into the state of staffing in the construction and distribution industries.
Diesel Price Tracker
National Average Price Per Gallon: $2.996
Oil rose above $68 per barrel on Tuesday, approaching levels not seen since May of 2015. The price increase was supported by cuts in production by OPEC.
American oil production also fell for the eighth straight week. There was a dip in the amount of rigs drilling for new oil in the United States.
Lumber Price Tracker
Random lengths – framing lumber: $436
Random lengths – panels/plywood: $437
Severe winter weather disrupted lumber markets across the U.S. But despite this, framing lumber prices still opened strong during the first week of 2018.
The markets that were the most disrupted by the weather were the Northeast, Midwest, and along the Atlantic Seaboard.
Structural panel buyers who cut inventories at the end of 2017 replenished their stock in anticipation of warmer weather this week.
Staffing & Job Market News
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its December jobs report today.
The economy added another 2 million jobs in 2017, and unemployment remains at 4.1%, which is the lowest in 17 years.
Wages grew 2.5% compared with a year ago. Wages aren’t growing as quickly as many would like. But analysts predict that wages will catch up with the record-low unemployment rate by mid-year, as businesses compete to attract the most qualified workers.
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