Sawmills: Full Steam Ahead
Awhile ago I said that you can watch the economy by watching two principal indicators, the price of milk and the price of sawlogs at the local sawmills. The milk prices are a great indicator because as more consumers buy ice cream, fancy cheeses, eat pizza more and go out to eat where cheese is often used in food preparation, it means the economy is on the rebound, or on the way down. Saw log prices mean housing is starting to take off and the first place this shows up is at the sawmills as they get orders and need more wood.
For the first time in months cheese prices are on the rise. If you don't think that is a good sign, then consider this, a dairy farmer gets his best prices just before the superbowl because so many pizzas and their cheese toppings are being made. Who would have thought one game would propel 60,000 dairy farmers coffers huh?
But as woodworkers you might want to know about the latest trend at the sawmills. Maine being a forested state, we have had sawmills idle for the last year and a half. Now that is no longer the case. The local sawmill by me just completed a 20 hour shift where they sawed out 450,000 board feet of white pine in a single day (2 shifts). Before that they were averaging 350,000 bf per day. The problem is the loggers here can only produce 300,000 bf per day.
So these are true indicators the economy is indeed coming back. Yahooo huh? But I do caution you, most economists are predicting the economy will make a W pattern, meaning it will come back only a short ways before falling, and then rising again. Either way I am glad to see some real world indicators (I have seen this many times in my 35 year life) so even if we are entering the short rise of the W, we are at least moving closer to a better place for the unemployed (which includes me).
I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"