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When you build with wood, you’re building America’s economy: past, present and future. Wood has a storied history as a powerful economic driver—both within local communities and regionally across the U.S. Seattle; Portland, Oregon; St. Paul, Minnesota; Portland, Maine; High Point, North Carolina: These cities wouldn’t be thriving today without the jump-start the softwood lumber industry provided.
Today, that industry encompasses a range of products. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,the wood products manufacturing sector includes lumber, trusses, flooring, containers, manufactured homes and other prefabricated wood buildings.
Within those production areas, subsectors include sourcing, sawing, planing, shaping, laminating and assembling the wood products. Although wood destined for different uses is typically sourced from the same location, each use has its own supply chain. And each piece of that supply chain is a source of reliable employment across diverse job markets, both rural and urban.
The U.S. softwood lumber industry is a significant employer providing 208,000+ direct jobs in harvesting and manufacturing and 775,000+ direct and indirect jobs to Americans.
Today’s lumber industry, powered by a new spirit of innovation, brings a wide spectrum of career opportunities that can be found:
The U.S. wood products industry generates $20.4 billion in payroll income annually, with an additional $3.5 billion each year from forestry and logging occupations, while contributing roughly $1 billion in state and local taxes. Together, wood production, forestry and logging are responsible for more than half a million U.S. jobs.
Growth is expected. A study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects employment opportunities in renewable natural resources to increase more than 5 percent between 2015 and 2020 for college graduates with bachelor’s or higher degrees. Jobs in sustainable forest management are expected to remain as stable as the pool of candidates.
The forests are sustainable—and so are the jobs they provide. From rural economies where reliable, well-paying jobs are a top priority, to urban communities where building innovation is evolving design possibilities, wood is good business.
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