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: $2.973
Oil prices have started strong in 2018. It’s the first time since 2014 that crude prices opened at above $60 per barrel.
Despite unrest in Iran – a big oil producer – market analysts are optimistic.
“There doesn’t seem to be any great political risk premium in the oil price at the moment and again we think that might be supportive,” said William Dinning of Waverton Investment Management.
Lumber Price Tracker
Random lengths – framing lumber: $433
Random lengths – panels/plywood: $434
Because of winter weather and absenteeism due to the holidays, prices for all lumber products were muted this week. However, given the trends of past years, this slowdown in trading was expected by industry watchers. Some traders did make purchases for 2018.
Staffing & Job Market News
The U.S. job market remains hot going into 2018. The economy has created more than 2 million jobs each year for the past six years.
Nearly all occupations and industries are enjoying steady growth, including construction, manufacturing, and hospitality. Analysts also predict that unemployment rates of below 4% are likely to continue through Q1.
Sources: Random Lengths, EIA, Yahoo Finance, CNBC
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