Idaho logging, wood product and paper industries hang steady

Idaho’s logging and wood products industries struggle with volatile prices and a sharply reduced amount of timber available for harvest on federal lands compared with a generation ago. But Idaho wood is still a moneymaker, and recent trend lines are mostly positive, said Philip Cook, research scientist for the Policy Analysis Group at the University of Idaho.

“Like any industry, it faces challenges,” Cook said. “But it’s tended to be a steady industry and a steady part of Idaho’s economy, and it should continue to be.”

Employment in logging, wood product manufacturing and supporting industries rose from fewer than 10,000 Idahoans in 2010 to nearly 12,000 in 2014, according to the University of Idaho. Rising housing starts after the Great Recession led to boosts in lumber prices and timber harvests, supporting more than 600 timber-related businesses in the state and 255 manufacturing operations in 2012, according to the Idaho Forest Products Commission.


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