Lumber and Panel Industry Not Prepared for Surge in DIY and Home Remodeling Projects During COVID-19 Pandemic

According to Statistics Canada, 5.5 million Canadian workers have been impacted by shutdowns, either from loss of employment or COVID-19 related absences. The unemployment rate has gone from 5.6% before the pandemic to 12.3%. But in spite of loss of jobs, Canadian’s spending on home improvements, decreased only -5% from January through May. Paul Jannke, a principal at Forest Economic Advisors (FEA) recently told Yahoo Finance Canada in an interview that, “The lumber industry was not expecting this as can be seen by their production. U.S. lumber production was up an average 6% year-over-year per month [from January to March] but dropped -7% year-over-year in April and Canadian production was down -8% year-over-year in the first three months of 2020 but plunged -34% in April. “These production numbers indicate that the industry was very pessimistic about the prospects for lumber demand with the economy shutting down to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” The result is an unprecedented lack of lumber, panels and building material products available in both treated and untreated and prices that have skyrocketed, almost out of control, higher.

FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.