Monday, February 02, 2015

Forest industry continues to provide thousands of jobs, billions in revenue to some states

The forest industry is crucial to several states, accounting for thousands of jobs while providing billions of dollars to the state's economy. Yet, it's an industry that flies under the radar. In Oregon, the forest sector accounts for about 58,000 jobs and $12.7 billion to the economy. The forest industry in Pennsylvania includes about 90,000 jobs and $5.5 billion in annual revenue. And in Washington, where half of the state is forested, the industry creates 107,000 jobs and $4.5 billion in annual wages. Overall, one-third of the U.S. is forested—175 million acres—with 60 percent privately owned and 91 percent of wood harvested in the U.S. coming from privately owned land.

Other states not commonly known for timber are also thriving off the industry. The forest industry in Kentucky, which employs 51,000 people and accounts for about $12.8 billion in revenue, "is grow­ing again today with a recover­ing U.S. housing market and the rising global thirst for spirits aged in wood barrels," Gary Wollenhaupt reports for The Lane Report. "Meanwhile, it has cultivated a more energy efficient and environmen­tally sustainable culture of operations."

"The industry directly employed 27,574 in 2013, up 4.6 percent since 2011, and the forestry and wood products sector accounts for about 3 percent of the state’s workforce," Wollenhaupt writes. "The industry directly accounted for $7.9 billion of the state’s gross domestic product, an increase of 2.9 percent from 2011, similar to the state’s tourism industry. That economic impact was generated by 703 facilities in 110 of Kentucky’s 120 counties, including a wide range of indus­tries from logging and sawmills to cabinet manufacturers and paper producers."

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