Editor's note: This is the first in an series of local economic indicators in Business Monday. Southwest Florida Economic Pulse will bring you statistics on the housing market, tourism, consumer spending, jobs and businesses.
Sales of lumber and building materials have risen dramatically in both Collier and Lee counties in the last year, a function of brisk construction activity and escalating prices in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Gross sales data from the Florida Department of Revenue shows lumber and building supply sales in Collier were up 66 percent in September compared to the same month a year ago.
In Lee County, building material sales were up 48 percent in September compared to the same month last year. The data, the most recent available, is based on sales tax collected by the state in October, which reflects September transactions.