About 160 fewer softwood sawmills are operating in the United States and Canada than were 8 years ago. Nevertheless, the combined capacity of the remaining mills has increased by 16%, to over 173 million cubic meters. Of the approximately 1,140 mills, about 470 characterize their output as dimension lumber, accounting for 67% of capacity; 136 list studs as their primary output, representing 16% of the industry's volume; and 139 are primarily board mills, making up a little over 5%. The others make a variety of specialty products. In this report, the location and relative size of sawmills by State and Province are described in maps and tables. The data show that growth in capacity over the past 8 years has exceeded growth in demand, leaving the industry with excess capacity of at least 3%. This has contributed to volatile pricing and narrow profit margins within the past 3 years, a condition aggravated by the dispute over Canadian lumber imports.
Spelter, Henry; Alderman, Matthew. 2003. Profile 2003: softwood sawmills in the United States and Canada. Res. Pap. FPL-RP-608. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory. 79 p.