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: $2.901
Global oil prices rose to $64 per barrel due to supply disruptions in Europe. But petroleum output in the United States continues to rise, which put a cap on prices.
U.S. shale production is projected to rise to record highs in January. High global oil prices – caused by a North Sea pipeline outage and supply cuts by OPEC – is encouraging American producers to increase pumping.
Lumber Price Tracker
Random lengths – framing lumber: $431
Random lengths – panels/plywood: $426
This week trading in framing lumber products was slow, as is to be expected for the winter season. However it was slightly more active than usual for this time of year.
Structural panel products also saw surprisingly brisk trading, more so than an average December. Inventories are “lean,” leading to tighter supplies.
Staffing & Job Market News
A strong economy and low unemployment continues to push job growth.
A number of industries have increased hiring. Manufacturing added 31,000 jobs last month, while construction added 24,000.
Temporary labor services added 18,300 jobs. Employers often bring on temporary workers before converting them to permanent positions, so this development should continue to keep the unemployment rate at record lows.
Sources: Random Lengths, EIA, CNBC, CNN Money
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