Value of Michigan’s Forest Products Industry Soars

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MICHIGAN (WLUC) – From a furniture factory in suburban Grand Rapids to a paper mill in the Upper Peninsula to a single-employee sawmill in the heart of the Mitten, Michigan’s forest products industry is booming. growth.

Michigan’s traditional forest products industry – sawmills, paper mills, furniture factories, logging and other wood product manufacturers – reached a combined value of nearly $22 billion in 2019, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

“In 2012, the value of Michigan’s forest products industry was $17.5 billion, so this is a significant increase and in line with industry goals,” said Jagdish Poudel, forest economist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and author. of the study on the economics of forest products.

The information in the study can help shape and grow Michigan’s forest industries in the future.

“Significant progress has been made in growing the forest products industry in the state of Michigan,” said Charlie Becker, chairman of the state’s Timber and Forest Products Advisory Board. “Success can be attributed to our abundant and diverse forests that provide the renewable raw material, the skilled labor in our manufacturing, logging and transportation sectors, and supportive policies that make Michigan a good place to do business.

The study measures direct employment in the forest products industry as well as indirect employment, which includes jobs related to supporting the industry, and “induced effects”, or household expenditures by those employed. in industry.

Each direct job in forest products industries supported 1.14 additional jobs, according to the study. Direct employment was set at 42,011 jobs.

When indirect and induced jobs are included, the number of jobs rises to 90,022. catering workers who provide food and services.

In terms of direct jobs, the main sectors of the forest products industry are cardboard and container manufacturing (7,122 jobs), wood office furniture manufacturing (4,906 jobs), commercial logging (3,782 jobs) and sawmills (2,843 jobs).

Since the figures are from 2019, they do not take into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has slowed forest products industry growth in other states.

“We won’t see the impact of COVID-19 in this data until next year,” Poudel said.

A study in Wisconsin suggests that the forest products industry lost 4.78% of direct jobs there when comparing 2018 numbers to the second quarter of 2020.

However, Michigan’s forest products industry growth plan is long-term.

The success demonstrated through 2019 in Michigan’s most recent study reflects a decade-long focus on rebuilding since the 2008-09 recession hit the industry hard. This downturn prompted the 2013 Timber Summit and subsequent efforts to boost the industry.

This state of Michigan has its own interest in the prosperity of the industry. DNR’s Forest Resources Division sustainably manages 4 million acres of state land, preparing approximately 50,000 acres of timber for sale each year, less than 2% of the total forest area.

In 2013 and 2015, Michigan sponsored summit meetings to discuss ways to grow the forest products industry. It was also when the Wood and Forest Products Advisory Council was formed to help guide Michigan policy regarding the industry.

There were a few subsequent wins, including a new particleboard plant in Grayling owned and operated by Chilean company Arauco. It employs around 200 people.

The advisory board had set a goal to guide the industry to a value of $23 billion by 2023.

“We’ve had a number of new companies investing in Michigan as well as substantial investments from some of our long-time companies,” Becker said. “The outlook for the forestry and forest products industry in Michigan is very encouraging.

By the numbers:

  • 20.1 million: Acres of forest land in Michigan.
  • 55%: Portion of the state covered by forest.
  • 62%: private property.
  • 23%: Owned by state and local governments.
  • 15%: Federal government property

Forest Products Week

The third week of October each year has been designated as Forest Products Week, which this year runs from October 16-22, to celebrate the renewable resource that forests are and the variety of products they provide.

Beyond the wood

We all know that forests provide important wood products such as timber and paper, but there are many more:

Fashion: Rocking a Hawaiian shirt for that upcoming party? Most are made of rayon, a wood pulp product known for its smooth finish and lovely drape. Trade names for this fabric include Tencel and Lyocel.

Health and beauty: Cellulose from wood pulp is used in toothpaste to keep it cohesive. It is also used in various types of lipsticks.

Food and drink: Maple syrup, apples and cherries – all harvested from the trees. Trees also contribute to a variety of other products. The cellulose powder prevents the shredded cheese pieces from sticking together. Tree sap, nuts, and berries are all used to flavor beer varieties, and juniper berries give gin its flavor.

It’s great to celebrate Michigan’s forest resources and industry during Forest Products Week. But it’s even better to realize year-round that Michigan’s forest products industry packs quite an economic punch and provides jobs for our people as well as a wide range of miscellaneous assets we can rely on count in the future.

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories at michigan.gov/DNRStories. To subscribe to future Showcasing articles, sign up to receive free emails at michigan.gov/DNRE-mail.

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Rozella J. Cook