LUMBERYARDS

Construction spending at a standstill in June

BY Brae Canlen

Numbers released this week from the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that construction during June 2011 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $773.2 billion, a 0.2% increase above the May estimate of $770.5 billion. The June figure is 4.7% below the June 2010 estimate of $810.4 billion.

During the first six months of 2011, construction spending amounted to $357.5 billion, 5.4% below $377.9 billion for the same period in 2010.

Spending on residential construction was estimated at $235.8 billion in June, a 0.3% dip below the revised May estimate of $236.5 billion. Non-residential construction was reported to be $257.7 billion in June, 1.8% above the revised May estimate of $253.1 billion.

Public construction was also flat. Overall spending for June was down 0.7% to $278.9 billion. Educational construction dropped 4.1% and highway construction decreased 1.6% compared with May 2011.

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Parr Lumber of Oregon joins LMC

BY HBSDealer Staff

Building material co-op Lumbermens Merchandising Corporation (LMC) has announced the addition of Hillsboro, Ore.-based Parr Lumber to its group of independent lumberyards. Parr Lumber has 30 locations in the Northwest and ranked 13th on the Home Channel News Top 200 Pro Dealer Scoreboard.

Wayne, Pa.-based LMC also announced the promotion of a new regional manager for its Mid-Atlantic Region. Jim Muthersbaugh will take on the position, after 12 years with the company. LMC said that during his last 10 years at the company, he has focused mainly on the lumber trading area, and has worked his way up to manager of LMC’s Futures Programs.

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Loss widens at BlueLinx Holdings

BY Ken Clark

Atlanta-based building products distribution giant BlueLinx Holdings is having some success in its emphasis on value-added specialty products, but it couldn’t hold off total sales declines in the second quarter.

BlueLinx posted a loss of $9.8 million in the quarter ended July 2, compared with a net loss of $3.4 million in the same quarter last year. Revenues declined 7.4% to $500.8 million.

While structural product sales declined 27.1%, the company pointed to growth of specialty product as an achievement — the category increased 10.7% in the quarter. CEO George Judd said the company successfully expanded its specialty products to more than 60% of total sales, and specialty product unit volumes increased 16.5% compared with a year ago — a new record for quarterly volume growth in the category.

"In addition, we generated solid margins in the face of competitive pricing pressures, demonstrated diligent cost management and delivered high-quality customer service," Judd said. "I am pleased to see our specialty business responding to our targeted growth initiatives."

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