Status and trends for the U.S. forest products sector: a technical document supporting the Forest Service 2020 RPA Assessment
According to the latest available forest resource estimates, approximately 40 percent of the roundwood harvested in the United States is utilized in the production of solid wood products and 38 percent in the production of wood pulp for paper and paper products (Oswalt and others 2019). The demand for solid wood products is motivated by activity in end-use markets such as new housing construction and furniture manufacturing. The demand for paper and paperboard products arises by activity in a wide range of industries, from businesses that need to print paper to the retailer’s demand for wrapping paper and boxes used in shipping, among others. This report provides trends in U.S. forest products consumption, production, and trade to assess the forest products sector status to date. We find the U.S. construction sector remains the leading consumer of solid wood products, accounting for nearly 66 percent of all solid wood products consumption in 2019. As such, we observe the production of solid wood products closely following trends in the construction sector activity. Consumption of pulp and paperboard products shows a persistent downward trend primarily due to the increasing adoption of electronic media in place of newsprint, writing papers, and printing papers. Paper products consumption per capita during 2019 was nearly 60 percent below the level observed in 1999. Paperboard consumption per capita has declined as well, but at a slower rate.