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: $3.028
Tighter supplies and strong global demand have continued to push oil prices upward. Crude futures have risen by about 13% from their levels in early December.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects U.S. oil output to rise through February. The administration expects production from shale to rise by 111,000 barrels per day (to a total of 6.55 million barrels per day).
Lumber Price Tracker
Random lengths – framing lumber: $445
Random lengths – panels/plywood: $444
Framing lumber trading started off at a quick pace this year, boosting most lumber species. Many prices approached or exceeded highs set in 2017 (some of which were then at record levels).
Structural panel trading was also strong. Weather and transportation delays notwithstanding, producers sold steady volumes of OSB, southern pine, and western fir plywood products.
Staffing & Job Market News
The Bureau of Labor Statistics December jobs report was strong overall. The bureau reported a 75th straight month of employment growth in the United States.
Some industries did report less-than-stellar job numbers, though – traditional retailers continue to struggle. Retail stores lost 67,000 jobs last year.
The number of Americans who are working part-time but want a full-time job is at about 5 million. This is above where the number was before the Great Recession of 2007-2009.
A record number of small-business employer (54%) reported finding few or no qualified job applicants in December.
Sources: Random Lengths, EIA, CNN Money, CNBC, NFIB
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