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MADISON – Wisconsin’s high quality hardwoods, beautiful pines and skilled workforce helped the state secure the top ranking nationwide in wood furniture manufacturing employment.
While other states saw wood furniture industry employment decline, Wisconsin manufacturers increased employment slightly, to 4,144 in 2013, up from 4,040 in 2011, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics quarterly census of employment and wages. The employment category covers non-upholstered wood furniture.
“We’re pleased to see Wisconsin forest product businesses succeed in the face of stiff competition from overseas,” said Governor Scott Walker. “Our sustainably managed forests produce quality raw materials even as our state’s educational and vocational training institutions help develop a forest products workforce capable of adding value at all levels of production. These latest figures are further evidence of Wisconsin’s competitive edge in terms of the environment and the economy.”
Paul DeLong, chief state forester with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said the recent numbers are another indication of the many ways in which Wisconsin’s timber industry strengthens communities from the ground up. In addition to furniture manufacturing, the larger forest products employment base includes traditional logging, trucking and mill operations as well as forest products research, energy, consulting and tourism industries.
Overall, Wisconsin’s public and private lands generate forest products valued at nearly $22.9 billion each year and support more than 59,000 jobs based on numbers from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and additional sources. All of this is occurring while Wisconsin’s forests continue to add a net 185 million cubic feet of saw timber annually – or enough to frame about 139,000 homes.
“In many ways, our forests are our future – supporting jobs, welcoming visitors and contributing to our quality of life now and for future generations,” DeLong said. “Like every other sector of our economy, the timber products industry is subject to risks and uncertainties. Today, we’re fortunate to have a diversity of successful forestry related businesses that have proven as resilient as our forests themselves.”