By Oregon Employment Department
Oregon is one of the world’s great tree-growing areas. The state’s soils and climate provide ideal conditions to grow such commercially viable species as Douglas fir and ponderosa pine. Forests cover more than 30 million of Oregon’s 62 million acres – almost half of the state’s landmass.
The Oregon Department of Forestry estimates logging harvests totaled 3.9 billion board feet in 2016. While much of this timber feeds Oregon’s wood products industry, creating jobs and income, many jobs are also created planting, growing, and harvesting this resource. According to the Oregon Employment Department’s covered employment statistics, the subsector’s 757 firms employed 9,668 people statewide and added $539 million in payroll to Oregon’s economy in 2016.
Employment was in slow decline between 2005 and 2009 and has since leveled off, varying seasonally in a band around 9,000 to 10,000 jobs. Of the 2016 annual average total, 6,327 are employed in the private sector while 3,341 are employed in government. Most of the government employment is in federal government at 3,148 while the rest is in state government. Forestry and logging is a highly seasonal industry. Employment generally grows throughout the spring and peaks in August. Employment often stabilizes for a month or two in the fall before dropping off as winter rains begin.