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The Wisconsin lumberman, devoted to the lumbering interests of the northwest
Volume III. Number 6 (March, 1875)

The business outlook,   pp. 505-506 PDF (703.1 KB)


Page 505


The Wisconsin Lwmberman.
THE BUSINESS OUTLOOK.
[From the Northwestern Lumberman.]
With the advent of the new year and
opinion appeared to be current, in almost
ah commercial circles, that it was the
harbinger of a revival of business. As a
rule, the intuitions of men of good business
qualifications, are generilly correct, for
such intuitions are born of a prescience
which springs from strong common sense
and sagacious judgement. In the present
instance, there is little room to doubt, that
the expectations of improvement in busi-
ness will, in part as least, be realized dur-
ing the year. Indications point in that
direction, and the reasons therefor, are
neither hidden nor remote.
Let us look at the lumber interest for a
moment. Last vear at this time there was
scarcely a point in the country, where the
lumber trade or manufacture occupies any
prominence, that the yards or mill docks
were not full. The stocks on hard were
large, with a comparatively small damand,
for business in every branch of trade, was
almost paralyzed. To add 'o the discourag-
ing aspect of the lumber trade, the season
was verv favorable for work in the woods,
and the mills were making preparations to
send the usual amount of lumber, to the
already over-stacked markets. Even if the
conntry had so far recovered from the
effects of the financial panic, inaugurated
by the failure of Jay Cook & Co., as to
have restored the lumber trade to its
wonted activity the supply would have
exceeded the demand, and caused a de-
pression in prices; but no such recovery
took place then, nor has the lumber mar-
ket exhibited very much improvement in
prices up to this time. It hardly need be
said that lumber of nearly all grades has
been low, and still remains so. Never-
theless, the stocks have been gradually
worked off, and aside front Chicago, and
perhaps three or four other points, the
puantity in the yards is much less than it
was a year ago. Such, at least, is our in-
formation, and we have taken some pains
to ascertain the facts bearing upon this
point. Thus far, too, as a general thing,
this winter has not been so favorable for
operation  in   the    lumber  camps,
as last season was, and we may
safely calculate that the quantity of logs
got out will not, at most, exceed an ave-
rage season's :rop. The quality will age-
rage better than (or some seasons, the trade
for some two years past havmg demonstra-
ted that a large surplus of common grades
-of lumber is being carried, and that a fair
demand has existed even through the dull-
est periods for the better qualities. The
work in the woods this winter is being
done from ten to twenty per cent. cheaper
than formally, in many localities, which
will go far towards making up for low
prices, and with a certainty that new
stocks cannot be put upon the market in
the spring, particularly in the west, as
early as usual, for reasons elsewhers d-
tailed. It would seem a warrantably as-
sertion that prospects for the trade of
1875, wear a more cheerful look, and
though prices may not advance materially,
business on the whole may be fairly pros-
perous.
It cannot be expected that business, gen-
erally, will rapidly resume the activity
which prevailed previously to the panic,
any more than a vigorous plant, when cut
down by a severe frost, will suddenly send
forth its green foliage and resume its
wonted vigor. Improvement in one case
as in the other, is necessarily slbw and
much depends upon surrounding condi-
tions.
What is true of lumber is also true of
every department of business. The revi-
val of trade is steadily going forward, and
if no extraneous and unforseen drawbacks
of disasters occur to interrupt the recuper-
ation now going on, it will not be very
long before the unfavorable aspect and
forlone phases which have characterized
the manufacturing and commercial inter-
ests of the country for the past sixteen
monthis, will give place to healthy, sub.
stantial business activity.
Our attention has just been arrested by
an article in The Cincinnati Price Current
uopn this subject, which so nearly coincides
with our views, that we reproduce from it
the following extracts:
',To go to the extreme cities, we will
take Boaton in the east, where in many
branches of business the outlook is re-
ported to be more favorable for a brisk and
prosperous spring trade than was thought
possible a short time ago. Stocks of goods
in the hands of commission men have been
pretty well used up, and manufacturers
have intimations of a demand which en-
courages them to increase their production.
In San Franciseo, the extreme western
city, a more confident feeling prevails.
The Pocific slope has a large grain surplus
to work upon, the mines of precious metals
are yielding emnensely and scattering the
seeds of wealth with a liberal hand. The
planting season has been propitious, and a
greater breadth of land than ever before
505


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