Xmas tree shortage could have America pining for migrants

World

Xmas tree shortage could have America pining for migrants

One reason for the shortage of trees is that, thanks to Trump, there aren’t enough migrant workers to cut them

Nick Allen


Americans are facing a Christmas tree shortage in a lingering effect from the financial crisis a decade ago.
Some tree growers went out of business as the economy buckled in 2008. Because trees take seven to 10 years to reach an acceptable size for buyers, the effect is only now being felt.
Jane Waterman, of Uptown Christmas Trees, in New York, told The Wall Street Journal (WSJ): “We were able to cobble together enough trees – a few from this farmer, a few from that farmer. We’re going to have enough, but they were expensive.”
Additional factors contributing to soaring prices included bad weather in northern growing areas, a shortage of migrant workers to cut them, and increased red tape for trucking companies bringing trees from Canada.
Doug Hundley, spokesperson for the National Christmas Tree Association, said many new fir tree businesses opened around 2005.
The market was flooded, and when the recession hit a few years later, production plummeted.
He said the “balance between supply and demand” meant there had been a 17% increase in average tree prices since 2015.
Bill Campbell, owner of Campbell’s Christmas Trees, told The Daily Item: “The market was overproducing for years, and then the recession hit and prices fell. Many guys couldn’t afford to stay in the business any more.”
Scott Lechner, of SoHo Trees in New York, said customers were flooding in looking for trees. He told The WSJ: “Just like the groundhog can predict winter, I can predict the economy. Not by Christmas trees but by the ancillary sales of tree stands, ornaments, lights. People are buying them; the economy is rolling.”
His sales included a seven-metre tree that went for $2,900.
The National Christmas Tree Association denied there was a shortage. Spokesperson Tim O’Connor said: “There are enough available. Everyone who wants one will be able to get one.”
– © The Daily Telegraph

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