Sawmills across Northern Ontario continue to be busy, feeding an increasingly hungry U.S. housing market.

Statistics Canada reports that mills cranked out 6 per cent more lumber in March than they did a year earlier.

That includes the five sawmills in northern Ontario run by Eacom.

Eacom spokesperson Christine Leduc says this is a big change from when the wood business bottomed out a few years ago.

145 jobs return to Ear Falls

“Certainly the recovery is not what had been expected or forecasted,” Leduc says, “but we expect the market will continue its steady recovery.”

Leduc says the market upswing allowed it to re-open its Ear Falls mill, 140 km north of Dryden, bringing 145 jobs to the town.

But she says investments in modernizing other northern mills will help protect jobs when the demand for lumber sags again.

“Well, we’re certainly not out of the woods now,” Leduc says, “we are continuing to expect this recovery to go on, but this is a commodity, so cycles are to be expected.”

Leduc says one of the best signs of Eacom’s confidence in sawmills is the 27-million dollar reconstruction of its Timmins mill that was destroyed in a fire in 2012.

She says this year another 3 million dollars was invested in equipment at its Timmins facility.