Selective Cuttings

Production and employment in the solid wood sector

December 24, 2012

The historic relationship between the volume of (non-pulp log) roundwood produced and the number of Canadians employed in the wood manufacturing, forestry and logging sectors is very strong, and showing no signs of breaking down.

Scatterplot of employment on roundwood production (1987-2011)

A scattergraph displays a strong, positive, linear relationship between non-pulp roundwood production (x-axis) and employment in the solid wood product manufacturing and logging sectors (y-axis).

While innovation and market induced fluctuations in product mix would likely affect this relationship, the fact that it has been so stable over the past 25 years – a period of considerable change within the sector – suggests that it can serve as a reasonable basis for medium-term expectations. For instance, as US housing starts recover, a reasonable increase of 25% in Canadian harvest between 2011 and 2015 would create approximately 35,000 additional jobs in the logging and solid wood sectors – a welcome outcome, to be sure.