Lumber labor getting chopped

Montana State Roundup

Published May 1, 2007  | May 2007 issue

One industry that isn't struggling to find workers is lumber milling, beleaguered by high energy costs and low demand for wood products caused by the nationwide housing slump. A 20 percent drop in lumber prices last year has led mills across the state to curtail production and dismiss scores of workers.

Earlier this year, Stimson Lumber Co. cut a total of 60 jobs at its mills in Bonner and Libby. In March, Pyramid Mountain Lumber of Seeley Lake, an independent firm that has carved out a profitable niche in specialty products, cut wages by 10 percent and laid off 10 workers. Company officials said they expected sales to pick up once the construction season gets into full swing.

Phil Davies