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: $2.903
Global oil prices fell today after hitting a two-and-a-half year high.
Libya lost around 90,000 barrels per day of crude oil supplies from a blast on a pipeline on Tuesday. Britain also experienced a supply disruption. Its largest Forties pipeline closed, although it’s expected to reopen in early January.
Analysts predict that prices could start to rise again as demand in the United States increases for heating oil.
Lumber Price Tracker
Random lengths – framing lumber: $432
Random lengths – panels/plywood: $431
Despite the holiday on December 25, framing lumber trading remained steady. Buyers are placing orders for January in order to speed up production.
The framing lumber market also remained strong heading into the end of the year. Mills are receiving orders through January 15.
Staffing & Job Market News
Consumer confidence is up this holiday season. Shoppers are spending at a pace not seen since the Great Recession, says Craig Johnson, president of retail consulting group Customer Growth Partners.
This increase in consumer spending has been boosted by the lowest unemployment numbers in 17 years.
Amazon said that Cyber Monday was the biggest shopping day in its history, but didn’t provide figures. Economists estimated that the company accounted for more than 60% of all U.S. online sales that day.
Analysts say it’s still unclear how the tax changes will affect consumer spending. Shoppers might feel comfortable spending with more money available, but also could decide to put any tax windfall into savings instead.
Sources: Random Lengths, EIA, USA Today, CNBC
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