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: $2.819
The national average price of diesel rose by $0.022 compared to last week.
Oil production in the Gulf Coast region is finally returning to levels seen before Hurricane Harvey hit.
Overall, the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the area is similar to the effect of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008.
Internationally, oil prices steadied after Iraq increased exports. This was to make up for shortfalls caused by instability in the region during the past two weeks.
Lumber Price Tracker
Random lengths – framing lumber: $433
Random lengths – panels/plywood: $527
The prices of both framing lumber and structural panels dropped this week.
Trading in framing lumber species and products was lighter this week than it was in recent weeks.
Trading in structural panels dropped, leading to a steep decrease in prices. Trading was especially weak in the southern and western markets, and some mills offered heavy discounts to try to entice buyers.
Staffing & Job Market News
The hiring market remains strong this week. Only 222,000 Americans filed jobless claims for the first time last week, the fewest since March of 1973.
Collecting accurate figures on claims in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Florida is more difficult than usual because of the hurricanes. Much of Puerto Rico is still without electricity.
Consumer spending jumped 1% in September. This is the biggest gain since mid-2009.
Personal income rose 0.4%. The savings rate fell to 3.1%, the lowest level since December 2007.
Sources: Random Lengths, EIA, Reuters
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