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: $2.915
Tensions in the Middle East and supply interruptions in Iraq and Nigeria have pushed oil above $60 a barrel. The last time oil reached this price was 2015.
Temperatures have been mild so far this autumn, which has slowed demand in the third quarter. But growth is expected to rise again in the last three months of the year.
OPEC is also taking steps to cut production for the next nine months in order to reduce the amount of oil in storage. This could lead to a supply shortfall next year.
Lumber Price Tracker
Random lengths – framing lumber: $436
Random lengths – panels/plywood: $486
Framing lumber prices ticked upward this week, rising to $436 compared to last week’s price of $431. Recent prices continue to beat seasonal norms.
But demand for plywood and sheathing products continued to plummet.
Lumber producers have slashed plywood prices. But lumber distributors and dealers haven’t responded to these discounts with larger orders.
Staffing & Job Market News
Hiring for the holiday shopping season started about a month ago. But major retailers are still short of all the temporary workers they’re going to need.
Back in October, NBC News boldly declared the 2017 winter season “the best year to work holiday retail.” That prediction seems to be holding true.
Because the holiday hiring market has been so tight, retail workers are enjoying higher wages and better benefits than in seasons past.
And more retailers are using the holiday rush as a trial period for hiring workers on as permanent employees. According to a Snagajob survey, 93% of employers polled expect to keep workers on.
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