COVID19

Lumber shortages derail home improvement plans during COVID-19

Lumber shortages are derailing some home improvement plans
Lumber shortages are derailing some home improvement plans

The lumber industry has been caught off guard by Canadians’ financial resilience during COVID-19, resulting in shortages that are derailing home improvement plans.

According to data from Statistics Canada, 5.5 million Canadian workers have been affected by shutdowns, either through a drop in employment or COVID-19 related absences. The unemployment rate has gone from 5.6 per cent before the pandemic to 12.3 per cent.

Despite the devastation to the job market, spending on home repairs and renovations fell only 5 per cent in May, compared to January.

“The lumber industry was not expecting this as can be seen by their production,” said Paul Jannke, a principal of Forest Economic Advisors (FEA). “U.S. lumber production was up an average 6 per cent year-over-year per month [from January to March] but dropped 7 per cent year-over-year in April and Canadian production was down 8

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Will the remote work craze sparked by COVID-19 sound a death knell for office buildings?

Elliott Holt was always firmly opposed to letting employees work from home.

“There’s no control over it,” says the CEO of a Nashville-based medical records company. “We like to be in control.”

With MediCopy growing at breakneck speed, its work-in-the office ethos spelled a feverish expansion of its physical presence in Nashville. After adding a second office two years ago, the firm was poised to lease a third last month.

But since the coronavirus pandemic has forced nearly all of MediCopy’s 200 employees to work from home, Holt has had an abrupt change of heart. He says he’ll let staffers continue to telecommute for the long term, prompting him to relinquish both of the additional offices, convert his headquarters into a training center, and save $350,000 a year in leasing costs.

“Things are working the way they are,” he says.

Elliott Holt, CEO of MediCopy

As states lift stay-at-home

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