Lumber industry sees record demand, facing supply challenges

SNOW HILL, Md. – Lumber industry experts say they’ve seen a boost in business since the pandemic began but now they’re facing supply and demand challenges.

Kenneth Pusey with Paul M. Jones Lumber Co., a pine mill in Snow Hill, says supply is a challenge because the peninsula has seen an almost 80 percent decrease in lumber production as the industry starts to leave the country. Pusey says the peak of the lumber and timber industry was in 2006 when the peninsula had about eight to ten pine mills but now there are only two left.

As for demand, Pusey believes the pandemic is a root cause because people are staying home doing home improvement projects. Pusey says the industry struggled a little bit in March but then it picked up and they’ve been going strong ever since.

“I’ve been running this mill for thirty years and this is the first time that we’ve really had to initiate overtime for the saw mill. We started it Memorial Day and I thought we’d do it for a couple weeks and we’ve not stopped yet,” says Kenneth Pusey with Paul M. Jones Lumber Co.

Pusey says lumber futures, which help predict future demand and pricing, are three months out and they’re still climbing at a record high. Experts believe they will continue in that direction.

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