The average cost of a piece of lumber in Maine is about $10.50, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report posted on its website. A one-inch diameter table saw has prices starting at $12.49.
But that price has fallen by about $6 in the last few years; the average price of a two-by-four is now less than $4. Most of the state’s most expensive woodworking jobs are not in Maine.
Benson said the rise in the prices of some woods comes down to some new technologies that have developed over the last few years.
“Over the past 10 to 20 years, they’ve developed this woodworking industry to make it cost competitive for the consumer, to give people incentives to buy these machines,” he said.
Some mills are now able to make a lot more on a piece of wood than when the recession hit six years ago, he said.
“We’ve gotten more competitive in the last couple years. With less people making wood, the price goes down. It’s a little bit of a curse, because it drives some people to the higher end of the market,” he said.
The price drops come down to some economic conditions in Maine, such as the relatively low cost of timber and land, as well as people’s desire to work in woodworking, Benson said.
“What the industry is doing is finding a way to sell wood in ways that make economic sense. I mean, in terms of a job, there’s a whole lot of good jobs that can be done in woodworking,” he said.
Saskatoon’s Rains said his firm’s growth prospects seem to be in the near term, rather than the near future. He thinks one or two new mills may open in the next couple of years, but he expects that to be limited to smaller markets because of the downturn.
That could make his business even more difficult in the long term, he said, especially while the rest of the country works to recover.
“We were here for six years, three years and one month,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be here some more and help the economy come back.”
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A recent survey from the European Institute for Alcohol Studies (EIAS) revealed that smoking on a weekly basis is a great
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