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    In recent years, the forest products industry of the U.S. experienced a downturn in output to levels not seen in decades and employment losses in the hundreds of thousands-- for instance, a number far greater than witnessed in the Nation's automotive industry. The extent of the forest industry downturn varies by sector, impacted by structural changes in the overall economy coupled with substantial impacts from the Great Recession. Globalization of manufacturing and expanded use of electronic communication media contributed to a decline in U.S. pulp, paper, and paperboard output since the late 1990s, while the collapse of housing construction since 2006 and off-shoring of furniture production contributed to declines in U.S. wood product output. The paper points to structural changes that may be difficult to reverse, but also points to some potential prospects for growth in the future such as increased secondary product manufacturing and wood energy. This paper serves as an introduction to the extent of the downturn with a particular focus on trends in forest sector economic production and employment across the U.S . Because the nation's forest industry varies by region due to differences in forest resources and forest industries, additional regional examinations of this downturn (same issue) will highlight variations in the regional industrial response to the "Great Recession."

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    Woodall, C.W.; Ince, P.J.; Skog, K.E.; Aguilar, F.X.; Keegan, C.E.; Sorenson, C.B.; Hodges, D.G.; Smith, W.B. 2012. An overview of the forest products sector downturn in the United States. Forest Products Journal 61: 595-603.


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