Unemployment rate moves little in October
The national unemployment rate declined ever-so-slightly to 9.0% in October, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In October, the unemployment rate was 9.1%. A year ago, it stood at 9.6%. The past several months have seen little change — the rate has been in the 9.0% to 9.2% range since April.
Construction employment declined by 20,000 in October, largely offsetting an increase of 27,000 in September; both over-the-month changes largely occurred in nonresidential construction. Employment in both residential and nonresidential construction has shown little net change in 2011.
The data showed nonfarm payroll employment continued to trend up in October with an additional 80,000 jobs.
Market Recap: RISI Crow’s Construction Materials Cost Index
A price index of lumber and panels used in actual construction for Nov. 4, 2011
*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: SPF lumber mills showed a willingness to negotiate price levels for those items most plentiful. Overall, interest among buyers was low, leaving producers with few sales. Low-grade prices remained very weak, without the domestic demand needed to absorb the increased availability. Southern Pine lumber producers were again forced to discount most #2 dimension lumber prices. Volumes sold out of mills depended heavily on how aggressive producers approached the market with lower prices. Coastal species lumber sales were sluggish overall, but producers were able to hold prices within $5 of prior levels in most instances. Trying to keep volumes moving and cars loaded, mills listened enough to sell production. The markets for Inland species lumber continued to be slow, and discounts were needed in most instances to book business. Price alone was usually not enough to close the deal. In industrial grades, market activity for Ponderosa Pine was light but steady. Radiata Pine producers did not report a lot of price pressure from major users, and a few sales of 5/4 Mldg&Btr at a premium to published prices were reported. The pace in board markets was slow but steady, as buyers kept their PO books in the drawer, unless there was a need. Eastern White Pine producers were concerned about log availability and costs. Some reported having less than a week’s supply of logs in their decks. Idaho White Pine prices remained unchanged. Western Red Cedar buyers purchased highly specified orders in volumes consistent with reduced and tightly monitored inventories. Tight knot items continued to sell at a decent pace.
Panels: OSB producers were reluctant to lower their asking prices in spite of light inquiry and sales. Some counters were accepted but with little fanfare. The most active regions were the Mid-Atlantic and Southwest. Southern Pine plywood producers were able to sell enough rated sheathing to move order files into the week of Nov. 11. In several instances, it did take discounts to move the week’s production. A combination of factors bolstered Western Fir plywood pricing, one being a reduction in the supply. Price adjustments for most items were few and, where they did occur, minor. A widening range of Canadian plywood prices were reported. Some sales as high as $324 for 9.5mm delivered Toronto were reported, while others were made at $305 for the same item. The bulk of business done this week was around C$310 to C$315. More particleboard and MDF producers, along with distribution yards, reported a slower sales pace. What little momentum the fall market gathered appears to be dissipating.
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Vendors recognized at distribution conference
More than 350 distributors and manufacturers attended the Executive Planning Conference, hosted by Distribution America and PRO Group in Naples, Fla. from Nov. 2 to 4. Held at the Naples Grande Beach Resort, the joint annual conference, designed to reduce reduce costs and increase value for all participants, helped arrange 2,693 one-on-one sessions between sellers and buyers.
Distributors and manufacturers discussed topics ranging from new product and program launches, prior year fill-rates, order turn-around time, promotional effectiveness, return on asset performance, new business opportunities and how to gain market share with key customers in 2012.
A number of vendors were recognized during an awards ceremony, including the following:
Best New Product Awards:
Electrical: Blackbeam – Clamplight Mini Flashlight
Hand Tools: Century Drill & Tool Co. – 25’ Tape Measure with Compass Guide
Housewares and Seasonal: Boss Manufacturing Company – Arctik Xtreme Dipped Nitrile Glove
Hardware – Master Lock Company – SafeSpace Portable Personal Safe
Lawn & Garden and Pet – H.D. Hudson Manufacturing Company – Jet Stream Power Washer
Paint: Intertape Polymer Group – 30-piece Mossy Oak Duct Tape PowerWing
Plumbing: LDR Industries – Triple Head Shower with Jet Sprays
Tools: Robert Bosch Tool Corporation – Dremel Saw Max
Overall Winner: Shop-Vac Corporation – Wet/Dry Vac with Removable Toolbox
Distribution America Vendor Award Winners:
Lawn & Garden: H.D. Hudson Manufacturing Company
Paint and Paint Sundries: Red Devil, Inc.
Tools: Stanley Black & Decker
Hardware: Midwest Fastener Corporation
Electrical: GE Lighting
Plumbing: Genova Products, Inc.
Soaring Eagle Vendor Partnership Award: Genova Products, Inc.
PRO Group, Inc. Key Suppliers of the Year:
Tools: Shop-Vac Corporation
Plumbing: LDR Industries
Hardware: Master Lock Company
Paint Sundries: Intertape Polymer Group
Electrical: Coleman Cable, Inc.
Seasonal: Ames True Temper
Key Supplier of the Year (all product categories): DAP, Inc.
Based in Charlotte, N.C., Distribution America is a multi-billion dollar buying and marketing organization covering 50 states and international markets assisting retailers and distributors with merchandising and marketing programs.
PRO Group is a multi-divisional, international merchandising and marketing organization with corporate headquarters in Denver, Colorado. The company’s purchasing power exceeds $3 billion through its member distributors.