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With an historically low level of overall housing inventory and solid demand because of low mortgage interest rates and favorable demographics, new construction has been unable to add needed supply to the market because domestic production from the sawmill industry has not kept pace with home construction gains since mid-2020, resulting in unsustainable gains for home prices.

The sawmill industry has cited labor challenges, a limiting factor for the overall economy in both the manufacturing and construction sectors, as one reason. However, Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate that sawmill industry employment is higher than a year ago. As of October 2021 — the most recent data available — sawmill employment was 90,100. This is a 2.4% increase from October 2020, or a net gain of 2,100 jobs. Residential construction employment was up 4%, or 118,500 net jobs, over the same period.