February 25, 2021
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Top Industry News
Contractors appeal to Biden over soaring lumber costs
Biden (Pool/Getty Images)
The Associated General Contractors of America wants the Biden administration to negotiate a new softwood lumber accord with Canada and to encourage domestic production as part of a strategy to address surging costs for building materials. "[T]he extreme runup in recent months for the price of all categories of lumber has created a hardship for contractors that were called upon earlier in the pandemic to create spaces vitally needed for care of patients, social distancing of workers and the public," AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr wrote in a letter to President Joe Biden.
Full Story: Construction Dive (2/22) 
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Manufacturing and Innovation
The pandemic has hampered most manufacturers' ability to find skilled talent, although safety and work flexibility have seen improvements, according to a survey co-sponsored by The Manufacturing Institute. "The priority was keeping the labor force healthy, but with childcare options limited and schools often operating virtually, companies also recognized the logistical hurdles that many employees were facing in their personal lives," according to the survey.
Full Story: Connecticut Business & Industry Association (2/18) 
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5G internet will likely enable warehouses to collect more data from multiple sources and analyze it quickly for predictive maintenance, says Mark Stanton of PowerFleet. The technology could also make it easier for outside technicians to stream video and get remote access at industrial sites.
Full Story: Modern Materials Handling magazine online (2/18) 
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Welcome to the Safety Zone
The 2021 AWFS®Fair this coming July is going to be chalk full of new stuff, including a brand new Safety Zone! The safety zone will feature exhibitors that provide the latest and greatest in safety equipment for your shop and personal life. Learn more.
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Construction and Housing
Lumber, housing costs still on upward trajectory
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The average new-home price has increased by more than $24,000 due to soaring lumber prices, which are up more than 180% over last spring, according to the National Association of Home Builders, and Craig Johnson of Piper Sandler says lumber prices could increase another 30% to 35%. The National Association of Realtors says existing-home prices have risen as well, which may stem from a remodeling boom during the pandemic.
Full Story: CNBC (2/22),  LBM Journal (2/22),  Marketplace (2/22) 
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With $13.7 billion in loans under the latest iteration of the Paycheck Protection Program, the construction industry is second only to the restaurant and hotel industry in benefiting from the PPP. In all, 112,199 construction firms have received PPP loans this year.
Full Story: Construction Dive (2/16) 
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CTE and Workforce Development
CTE students repair historic property
(Pixabay)
Career and technical education students at an Oregon high school recently constructed and installed a new guardrail at Butte Creek Mill after the original was damaged in a fire. The project took students about four months to complete.
Full Story: KTVL-TV (Medford, Ore.) (2/18) 
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Policy
The Consumer Brands Association has co-authored a report advocating for a federal Office of Supply Chain to coordinate public-private initiatives aimed at making the nation's supply chain more resilient. "The pandemic displayed just how fragile and essential supply chains are, especially for vulnerable populations where access, affordability and availability are paramount," said Geoff Freeman, CEO and president of Consumer Brands.
Full Story: Progressive Grocer (2/23),  CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly online (2/23) 
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Hot Topics
There are five indicators that a supplier will be receptive to feedback, including whether a supplier follows industry standards such as ISO 9001, uses lean management and avoids paying by piece rate, according to researchers Jodi Short and Michael Toffel. They also offer several avenues for improved monitoring and performance tracking.
Full Story: Harvard Business Review (tiered subscription model) (March–April 2021) 
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News from AWFS
The new industry-wide YouWood career awareness campaign is now live! We need everyone in the industry to come together to promote careers and shift the perception of the wood industry to one with attractive and competitive opportunities for new talent. Here are ways you can use and support the campaign.
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With COVID-19 still being ever present in our everyday lives, it is not uncommon for our exhibitors to approach us with questions regarding our upcoming event. Although a great deal can happen between now and the show, it seems that there is a lot of good news on the vaccine front.
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ABOUT AWFS®
The Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers® (AWFS®) is a non-profit organization that owns and produces the biennial AWFS®Fair. AWFS® members include manufacturers and distributors of machinery, hardware, software, tooling, components, wood products and supplies for the wood industry. To learn more, visit http://www.awfs.org/.

Contact AWFS®
Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers® (AWFS®)
Elena Potter
Marketing Coordinator
(323) 215-0308
elena@awfs.org
AWFS.org

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