Alberta forestry rebounds
Lumber prices rising due to increasing demand in the U.S.
Posted: Jan 28, 2013 9:24 AM ET
Last Updated: Jan 29, 2013 8:33 AM ET
The Alberta forestry industry is rebounding as the price for lumber increases.
The price jump is being driven by higher demand in the United States.
"It's one of the sectors of the province that's kind of on fire," says Todd Hirsch, Senior Economist with ATB Financial.
"Lumber prices have almost doubled from where they were a couple of years ago. We're finally starting to see the housing market in the United States pick up some steam again."
Along with the housing market crash in the U.S., the Alberta lumber business also took a downturn as the mountain pine beetle spread through the province. Spray Lakes Sawmills in Cochrane cut its staff of 265 workers in half and scaled down to one shift instead of two, during the recession.
Company spokesperson Gordon Lehn says business is starting to turn around.
"We're going to be going back to a double shift operation, hopefully by the end of the calendar year."
Lehn says Spray Lakes Sawmills' next challenge will be finding skilled workers.
"We're competing with the oil patch and everyone else to try to find that manpower we need as well," says Lehn.
The company expects the rebound in the industry will also mean more general business activity in the area as more contractors and more trucks are put into service.
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