Western Lumber Industry had worst year on record, outlook even more dismal
Posted by Matthew Koehler on September 18, 2010
This week the Western Wood Products Association reported that the Western lumber industry in 2009 posted its worst year for production in modern history, and that the outlook for this year is even more dismal.
• Overall, U.S. demand for lumber in 2009 was less than half of what was consumed in 2005.
• The amount of lumber used for residential construction is down 76% compared to 2005.
• The lack of home building in the U.S. contributed to the historic decline. Just 554,000 houses were built in 2009, a 39 percent decline from the previous year and a staggering 75% decline from 2005.
• Low demand translated into even lower prices for Western lumber products. The estimated wholesale value of the 2009 production was $2.69 billion, down 26 percent from 2008. Five years ago, Western mills produced 19.3 billion board feet of lumber valued at $7.7 billion.
• Since 2005, output from Western lumber mills has fallen by some 46 percent.
Given the fact that overall lumber demand in the U.S. is down 50% since 2005 and housing starts are down 75% since 2005 one really has to question the motivation and economic rationale of those who are calling for Congress to step in and mandate more public lands logging.
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