Document Type


Publication Date



Forest products industry -- Oregon -- Employees, Forest products industry -- Oregon -- Statistics, Labor productivity -- Oregon

Physical Description

99 pages


Employment in the wood products industry in Oregon has declined over the past decade despite the resurgence in demand for the products of the industry in the last few years. Because of the dependency of rural regions on this industry, the Ford Foundation funded the authors to undertake a study of the causes and consequences of employment decline within the industry. Such information can contribute to the development of strategies for improving the economic viability of these regions.

Tunber dependent regions in Oregon fit the classic export-base model of economic development These areas produce wood products for export to other pans of the country. The comparative advantage in this endeavor is based on an endowment of high-quality timber. In reviewing data on employment and productivity over the last decade, it is apparent that wood products employment in the state has been reduced as the productivity in the industry has increased. Thus, in Oregon the industry processed more timber in 1986 than it did in 1979, but with about fifteen percent fewer workers. Further, there are indications that timber supply will be reduced in the near future. This would limit the level of output and further reduce the level of employment.

This study investigates the dynamics of employment in the industry using three different approaches. The first approach interprets econometric analysis addressing the factors of production in relation to labor productivity. The second approach investigates the relationship of the wood products industry to the state using an input-output model (IMPLAN) to explore the effects of structural changes in the industry on output, income and employment Finally, the study narrows its geographic focus to a timber dependent region (Jackson, Josephine and Klamath Counties) in southern Oregon, and investigates the perceptions and activities of those who work in the industry or are affected by it. Indepth interviews were conducted with managers of lumber and plywood mills, corporate executives, labor representatives, employees and local government officials to gather qualitative information on the production activities, employee charaeteristics and choices, and the relationship of the industry to local communities.


Catalog Number PR029.

A product of the Center for Urban Studies, College of Urban and Public Affairs, Portland State University.

Persistent Identifier