Housing Rebound Has More Northwest Sawmills Buzzing

Nov 28, 2012

Credit Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Sawmills in the Northwest have significantly ramped up production in response to the rebound in construction nationally.  That's according to a market survey by an industry consultant based near Seattle. 

Wood Resources International president Hakan Ekstrom  says the region's sawmills are returning to profitability thanks to a happy coincidence of rising domestic and foreign demand.

"It has come down a little bit for China, but Japan is still buying and China might come back next year," Ekstrom says.  "It actually looks pretty good for sawmills, both selling into the domestic U.S. market this quarter and the coming year and exports to Asia."

Ekstrom says most Northwest sawmills still have unused capacity.  So he says lumber production and worker hours could increase through next year without requiring major capital investments.