Pacific Northwest loses 20,000 sawmilling jobs to Asia in two years on basis of 12 jobs per mmbf of log exports, further 26,000 losses predicted for 2011
July 12, 2011
– Rising log exports from Pacific Northwest ports have led analysts to estimate that for every million board feet of log exports the region loses 12 jobs, mostly in family-owned and operated sawmills, according to a report by 24/7 Wall St.
Using the benchmark of 12 jobs per million board ft. (mmbf) of log exports, Oregon and Washington have lost more than 20,000 jobs to Asia in the last two years, and are set to lose another 26,000 this year with exports to Asia predicted at more than 1.5 billion board ft. (bbf) in 2011.
Timber exports to China doubled in 2010 to an estimated value of US$270 million, and total log shipments to Asia reached a 14-year high of 1.1 bbf from Pacific Northwest ports, compared with 700 mmbf in 2009.
As a result, log prices in the Pacific Northwest have continued to rise, but prices in the southeast U.S. are at their lowest level for 15 years.
The exports are pushing lumber prices up again from lows reached in mid-June, leading to speculation that supply will not be able to keep up with demand, despite soft construction market conditions in the U.S.
The primary source of this article is 24/7 Wall St., New York, on July 11, 2011.