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: $2.922
As anticipated, OPEC confirmed this week that it will cut oil production through the end of 2018. This caused forecasters to raise their projected global price-per-barrel to $62 for 2018.
Even though OPEC has confirmed a cut in crude production, United States output continues to rise. In September, output reached 9.5 million barrels per day, or the highest monthly production since 2015.
Lumber Price Tracker
Random lengths – framing lumber: $436
Random lengths – panels/plywood: $433
Trading in framing lumber products softened, causing the overall price to drop by $2 compared to last week. Historically high prices for this time of year caused buyers to slow down their purchasing activity.
The price of structural panel products continued to drop. Overall, buyers declined to make purchases of these products unless discounts were offered. Some regions saw discounts of as much as $40.
Staffing & Job Market News
It remains to be seen how the proposed tax overhaul being spear-headed by President Trump will effect the economy, and more specifically, hiring.
Goldman Sachs estimates that the Senate tax legislation will increase economic growth by about 0.3% in 2018 and 2019.
David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds, thinks the tax overhaul will contribute “a little bit” to faster wage growth. But the effect will be limited by the low unemployment rate and the shortage of skilled workers.
“We are basically out of qualified workers, or very close to it. That will limit economic growth,” Kelly said.
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