Logging industry in the United States: employment and profitability

  • Authors: He, Mingtao; Smidt, Mathew; Li, Wenying; Zhang, Yaoqi
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
  • Source: Forests
  • DOI: 10.3390/f12121720


This study analyzed logging industry employment and profitability in recent decades in the U.S. based on Occupational Employment Statistics (OES), Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI), Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), and Timber Product Output (TPO) Reports. The logging industry in the U.S. has experienced reduced employment with an aging workforce over the past two decades. The changes might be related to increased productivity from mechanization, combined with reduced demand for logging, but estimates of capital and labor productivity for logging are not available. To overcome the data limitation, a simple and cost-effective economic model, Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA) Model, was applied to estimate the profitability of the entire industry at a state level. It was found that the reduced demand and increased operating costs led to poor profitability and a wave of closures of logging firms but also accelerated the adjustment in the logging industry. Serious challenges facing the forestry sector include the lack of an effective monitoring tool for the logging industry, structural shortage of logging labor, and rising operating costs.

  • Citation: He, Mingtao; Smidt, Mathew; Li, Wenying; Zhang, Yaoqi. 2021. Logging Industry in the United States: Employment and Profitability. Forests. 12(12): 1720-. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12121720.
  • Keywords: logging employment, aging workforce, mechanization, labor productivity, EIO-LCA, profitability
  • Posted Date: February 22, 2022
  • Modified Date: February 24, 2022
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