Plans

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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After Weeks on Zoom, Churches Consider Plans to Reopen

Manuel Cuzco, 63, who lives nearby, kneels on the steps of St. Sebastian Roman Catholic Church in the Woodside neighborhood of Queens, March 22, 2020. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times)
Manuel Cuzco, 63, who lives nearby, kneels on the steps of St. Sebastian Roman Catholic Church in the Woodside neighborhood of Queens, March 22, 2020. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

When everything began shutting down back in March, Steve Wiens thought he would be leading church via Zoom for two, maybe four, weeks.

Members of his church, Genesis Covenant in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, rose to the challenge. They celebrated the Eucharist from their kitchens, with coffee and doughnuts, Capri Sun and Oreos. They divided themselves into small groups across town to keep tabs of who needed groceries or supplies.

“We’ve somehow maintained a real intimacy and sweetness because we leaned into the values that always held us,” Wiens said.

But as the weeks have turned into months, and Zoom fatigue is settling in, many church leaders are contemplating how — and when exactly — to reopen. This week, Wiens mapped out

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