Consumer confidence increases in May
The Consumer Confidence Index rose to a reading of 76.2 in May, up from 69.0 in April.
It was the second straight month of gains for the widely watched macroeconomic metric, and the highest reading since February 2008, when the index hit 76.4.
The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen.
A year ago, Consumer Confidence stood at 64.4.
“Consumer Confidence posted another gain this month and is now at a five-year high,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor-market conditions was more positive and they were considerably more upbeat about future economic and job prospects. Back-to-back monthly gains suggest that consumer confidence is on the mend and may be regaining the traction it lost due to the fiscal cliff, payroll-tax hike, and sequester.”
Consumers’ appraisal of present-day conditions improved in May. Those saying business conditions are “good” increased to 18.8% from 17.5%, while those stating business conditions are “bad” decreased to 26.0% from 27.6%.
Consumers’ assessment of the labor market was also more positive. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” increased to 10.8% from 9.7%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” edged down to 36.1% from 36.9%.
Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for May 24, 2013
*Western – regional species perimeter foundation; Southern – regional species slab construction.
Crow’s Market Recap — A condensed recap of the market conditions for the major North American softwood lumber and panel products as reported in Crow’s Weekly Market Report.
Lumber: Weakness in the SPF lumber market created a bevy of lower selling prices at the mill level, dependent on what a particular mill needed to sell, how quickly those volumes needed to move and what buyers were willing to pay. Production continued to outpace demand in the Southern Pine lumber market, forcing most dimension prices lower. Producers often sold mixed truckloads at a sporadic pace. Prices in the Coastal species lumber market declined. Perceptions regarding an oversupplied market remained widespread, and a few traders questioned whether mills might need to cut production. Control of the Inland species lumber market remained in the hands of buyers, who made their purchases very selectively. Weakness in futures, as well as low prices for SPF, were mentioned as contributing factors to soft prices. Most purchases were discounted The market for Radiata Pine Mldg&Btr was firm, steady and balanced, with little change in pricing. Ponderosa Pine Moulding and Shop producers reported limited supplies of wood, although buyers indicated they were seeing more offerings from mills. Weak lumber futures contributed to the bearish attitude existing throughout much of the market. Market activity for Ponderosa Pine Selects and Commons remained lackluster. Mixed loads were the norm, and most came with a counter to mill asking levels. Activity for ESLP boards remained steady. Supplies of Industrial grade Eastern White Pine were tight and buyers continued to look for coverage. A wide range of prices for Idaho White Pine were reported. Western Red Cedar producers experienced various levels of sales activity. Growing takeaways from distribution and retail yards prompted replenishment buying from mills, while other yards filled-in with highly mixed volumes.
Panels: In spite of efforts by producers to firm OSB prices up, weakness in the market persisted. Contract wood continued to undermine mills’ efforts to build order files based on open market sales. The Southern Pine plywood market remained weak but not to the degree as in previous weeks. Buyers continued to purchase conservatively, cautious of the potential for more downside in prices. Western Fir plywood producers did what was needed to sell volumes while trying not to give too much ground in the way of pricing. Buyers remained cautious, purchasing prompt shipping volumes to fill immediate needs. The market for Canadian plywood continued to struggle. Distributors, for the most part, concentrated on moving contract commitments. Even though several producers were not laying up sheathing, the impact was negligible on market prices. Particleboard producers in the Southeast continued to sell strong volumes. Less availability prompted eastern particleboard buyers again to look west to those plants for coverage. MDF sales were steady and prices remained very firm.
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Home businesses hire veterans
Phoenix-area home repair companies Goettl Good Guys Air Conditioning Repairmen and The Sunny Plumber have reached out to local military organizations that are focused on finding employment opportunities for servicemen and women. The companies encourage similar organizations in Arizona to contact them to see what job placement opportunities can be secured.
“Goettl Good Guys and The Sunny Plumber are intensely proud to reach out and provide some security to the heroes who have given up so much to defend our country,” said Dan Burke, CEO of Phoenix Peach, the investment fund that owns the repair businesses. “As a former Navy serviceman, I am acutely aware of the pressures to assimilate back into civilian life after military service. Hopefully, our companies’ efforts will ensure these brave men and women establish long-term careers, and in industries that pair well with training that many receive in the armed forces, like equipment maintenance and repair.”
The companies have previously shown support for veterans throughout Arizona as well. At local American Legion Posts, Goettl Good Guys has helped solve air filtration and air conditioning systems challenges, and has introduced a military discount program for veterans and their families. Goodrich asserts the companies will continue to show support for former military in the future through additional service offerings like this and by hiring former military servicemen and women for years to come.
“Building a workforce of technicians from disciplined military backgrounds will only advance the companies’ commitment to providing high-quality services,” Goodrich said. “Phoenix Peach will continue shaping these two companies to stand out for their community service and rapid repair of technology and plumbing at our neighbors’ homes.”