Lumber industry feeling toll of COVID-19 pandemic

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – The construction and lumber industry is seeing rising costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Doug Barr with Palumbo Lumber, prices are about 50 percent higher than last year.

Barr said as people are staying inside, home improvement projects have become a focus, so demand is high. A consumer specialist survey found 57 percent of homeowners made improvements this spring.

However, the product is low because mills and production were forced to shut down. He said the effect has trickled down, forcing some big projects to be put on hold.

“Unfortunately, the project was under a budget that was made, in say May, when they finally get to the point when they need wood, that project may not have started until now or last month,” Barr said. “Some have had to kind of take a step back.”

Barr said there is good news, though. He is hopeful prices have peaked. He’s optimistic that the cost of lumber will drop as production picks back up.

Experts still aren’t sure exactly when prices will go down to normal, but they’re hopeful the industry will get better as production increases.

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