Lumber Industry Sees Strong Growth Ahead
by Hunter Bishop
Strong growth in the lumber industry is predicted as construction activity is picking up locally and across the nation, said Ken Laughlin, president of the Hawaii Lumber Products Association.
“The lumber industry is about to take off as demand and production rates rise,” Laughlin said in a HLPA release on Thursday, Aug. 29.
The start of 2013 showed a 9.5% rise in lumber production levels from the same period in 2012, the HLPA reported, and private housing unit starts this past July shot up 20.9% from July 2012 nationwide.
Authorization of building permits for privately-owned housing also went up by 12.4%, the HLPA reported, citing US Commerce Department reports.
Local experts believe Hawaii will be on trend to follow the national rise in construction, Laughlin said.
The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations released its employment forecast for the third quarter of 2014, which shows a 12.8% increase in construction employment, equaling 3,750 more jobs.
The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) has predicted a jump in job opportunities of more than 9% for this year, and expects a 3.3% rise in inflation-adjusted personal income in 2014.
A healthy economy and more disposable income will continue to boost lumber demand as home improvements and remodeling account for a major portion of current lumber sales, the HLPA said, especially with Hawaii’s aging homes facing damage from fungal decay and pests such as termites.