Hundreds of sawmill representatives gathered in Portland Monday for a trade association meeting. Thanks to a recovering housing market, the U.S. demand for lumber is increasing.
Last year, sawmills in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho sold about 10 percent more lumber. Kevin Binam is President of the Western Wood Products Association. Binam predicts about three more years of growth in housing starts, and strong demand for lumber.
“I would expect the employee count to increase more in 2013 than it did in 2012," he says. "Because we’re looking at three more good years, and you’ll see mills putting on second shifts and looking to increase their production.”
But Binam and other analysts say that even as Northwest mills are enjoying lots of demand for their two-by-fours, they a face a new challenge.
It’s getting harder for them to find raw logs to buy. That’s because timber land owners like Weyerhaueser are selling more raw logs to China.
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