Three Reasons the U.S. is Experiencing a Lumber Shortage

Two years into a global pandemic and supply chain woes are continuing to create international concerns. A lack of Chinese and Taiwanese made semiconductors  are causing American automakers to reduce or halt production. Consumable shortages from exotic fruits to imported beers have consumers scouring grocery shelves. And now in the middle of an unprecedented new home construction boom, the number one concern is a lumber shortage. Is this a true supply chain problem or are additional factors involved? 

Climate Change

The United States imports a tremendous amount of lumber annually with the majority coming from Canada. In 2021 major wildfires, especially in British Columbia, home to three of the largest North American lumber producers, caused widespread damage. Many experts agree the severity and increased number, 300 fires burning simultaneously, with 6,224 total fires reported by September 2021, were caused by environmental factors exacerbated by human-caused climate change. This has allowed the United States lumber market, already at a breaking point in terms of demand, to experience once again an increase in lumber prices and potential shortages. As of January 2022, market price is up almost 200% over the bottom price in August 2021. 

New Safety Protocols

New Covid-19 vaccination mandates recently went into effect for all truckers crossing the border into Canada. Limited delays are already being seen due to confusion over the ruling resulting in some truckers being turned away. As in America, the Canadian Trucking Alliance has also been experiencing a driver shortage. Now due to new Covid-19 regulations the CTA has estimated another 15% of cross border drivers could leave the industry. This number is anticipated to increase since a vaccine mandate is expected to go into effect on the United States side of the border on January 22, 2022. 

Social distancing requirements along with Covid-19 outbreaks have created employee shortages which in turn has slowed the ability to physically source, mill and then transport finished lumber products. Industry wide production problems have resulted in major manufacturing challenges. 

Supply and Demand 

A myriad of reasons created the uptick in home sales and the demand for new home construction. Covid-19 turned office workers into remote workers, in-class students into e-learning students, part-time senior employees into completely retired seniors. Home more than ever before made many realize their current residence was no longer meeting their needs, leading to a major home building boom. Also, with more free time DIYer’s began elaborate home improvement projects. This created more demand for lumber and other building materials than at any other time in recent history. Coupled with all the above factors, demand has been vast and widespread, leading to major industry shortages.

In spite of all these unknowns Compass Construction prides itself on being able to work within your budget. When you deal with us, there are no surprises. We are always upfront about rising costs and work hand and hand with you, our client, to ensure a mutually satisfying outcome when it comes to your new home construction costs. For additional information please connect with us today. You can reach us by calling 864-627-8804, emailing Compass Construction at, or simply fill out our secure online form and we’ll be in touch shortly.