Weekly changes in the prices 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: $2.776
The price of diesel dropped this week. But crude oil prices overall have been volatile. Traders are still trying to assess the impact of Hurricane Nate on refineries on the Gulf Coast.
Hurricane Nate forced the shutdown of more than 90% of crude output in the Gulf of Mexico. But as of Monday, oil platforms have been returning to service.
Lumber Price Tracker
Random lengths – framing lumber: $440
Random lengths – panels/plywood: $536
Framing lumber prices rose for the fifth straight week, but not as sharply as the climb in prices for structural panels.
Structural panel prices rose for the sixth straight week. High demand for OSB in markets in the eastern half of the United States affected prices accordingly.
The unemployment rate declined to 4.2% in September.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a sharp employment decline in food services and drinking places likely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.
In September, 1.5 million workers had a job but were not at work due to bad weather.
Payroll employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and retail trade, changed little over the month.
Sources: EIA.gov, RandomLengths.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, SeekingAlpha.com
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