According to data released on June 8, 2021 by United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service, the U.S. exported 635,463.4 metric tons of wood pellets in April. This is down from 667,309 metric tons in March, but up from 595,166.2 metric tons in April 2020.
According to the latest National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Home Building Geography Index (HBGI), the trend that started in Q2 2020, in response to COVID-19 pandemic, of single-famil home building shifting to lower-density and low-cost markets continued unabated through Q1 2021. The suburban shift, however, has been even more pronounced in the multifamily sector, which is experiencing growth in 2021 after a slight decline in 2020.
A closer examination of The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for April 2021, with additional analysis provided by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), reveals that the count of open construction jobs increased in April to 357,000 unfilled positions.
According to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Application Survey, for the week ending June 24, 2021, the Market Composite Index — a measure of mortgage loan application volume — decreased by 3.1% percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. This week’s results include an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday.
Canfor Corporation announced today (6-8-21) that it will be investing approximately $160 million USD to construct a new, state-of-the-art sawmill near DeRidder, Louisiana. The facility will have an annual production capacity of 250 million board feet on a two-shift basis and will directly employ about 130 people, plus create significant additional indirect jobs.
Japan’s housing market continues to fight an uphill battle, despite some signs of improvement. In February, Japan’s housing starts declined -3.7%, followed by a slight improvement in March of 1.5% to 35,448 units.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), reported today (6-8-21) that the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell -.02 points in May to a reading of 99.6. In May, there was a slight pause in the recovery of small business optimism after steadily improving from January through April 2021. In May a record-high number of business owners (48%) reported unfilled job openings.
The latest Mortgage Banker Association’s (MBA) Forbearance and Call Survey reports that the total number of loans now in forbearance decreased by 2 basis points from 4.18% of servicers’ portfolio volume in the prior week to 4.16% as of May 30, 2021. According to MBA’s estimate, 2.1 million homeowners are in forbearance plans.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today (6-8-21) reported its Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for April 2021. According to the JOLTS report, as of the last business day in April, the number and rate of job openings reached a series high of 9.3 million (+998,000) or +6.0%. Hires were little changed at 6.1 million or +4.2%.
Elevated prices for finished lumber and panel products have led several Canadian provinces to raise the timber royalty rates they are charging to lumber manufacturing companies. New Brunswick is not, at least not as of yet. The province instead continues to standby a decision made to keep its royalty rates frozen at levels set 6-years ago by the former government.