Where Wood Will Go to Work in 2012
January 4, 2012 | 10:36 am CST

The good news in construction and wood manufacturing is arriving so frequently, it's almost tiresome.

Where Wood Will Go to Work in 2012Despite my reporter's pledge ("bad news sells" is the adage journalists live by) the positive trends for wood manufacturing are irrefutable. Besides, my ability to generate page views from dire events is wearing thin.

So here's the good stuff:

Cabinetry sales are up again in November, says the Kitchen Cabinet Makers Assn. Sales rose 3.6 percent versus a year ago, and semi-custom cabientry was up 8.6 percent.  

Construction spending rose 1.2 percent in November, to 800 says the Department of Commerce. Homebuilding, private nonresidential construction and public construction all increased compared to October. That's the third time in three months. Apartment construction is the fastest growing area, benefitting from the fall in single-home construction as consumers rethink their options. Renting is better for many people, especially those who cannot meet stringent bank loan vetting. Multi-unit construction means multi-units of cabinetry, closets, flooring, doors and windows, though each unit is smaller than a freestanding home or townshouse, obviously.

• Two big commercial outfits will offer opportunities year. Sears is expected to remodel its stores, and that will generate a lot of store fixtures, commercial bidding and construction. It's Where Wood Will Go to Work in 2012new retail chief comes from Brookstone, so expect high end work. Likewise, JC Penney's new top exec is from Apple, so expect more and better work there. And McDonald's continues its wood-hued billion dollar makeover. I checked out one across from my house

• Lumber demand was up in December, as unseasonably warm weather allowed construction to continue into the winter. Lumber futures contracts of 1,000 board feet sold at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange last week hit their highest level in three months -  though contracts are down 18 percent for the year. (China demand drove constract prices up to $300 last January, but government intervention dampened demand during the year. Now they are headed up again. Hardwood Review says pricing on poplar and maple is up.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.