Forest Products Sector
Governor Inslee’s top priority is to create an economic climate where innovation and entrepreneurship can continue to thrive and create well-paying jobs in every corner of our state. Older than statehood, Washington’s Forest Products sector has provided wise stewardship of our natural resources and community-sustaining, family- wage jobs for over 165 years. Despite challenges, the industry’s ability to innovate, modernize and diversify provides proof that this giant piece of Washington’s past will also play a critical role in our future.
Forest Products sector defined
The industry consists of companies engaged in operating timber tracts, nurseries, seeding reforestation and harvesting timber and other forest products. The industry also includes related services such as cutting, logging, transporting, estimating and other forest management services. Products include lumber, plywood, flake board, chips, sawdust, wood flooring shingles, tiles, millwork laminated veneer, fencing and other primary wood products. Factoring in pulp and paper and value-added wood products (such as doors, window frames and stairs), makes forest products the third-largest manufacturing sector in the state of Washington.
Impacts of the Forest Products sector in Washington
Throughout our state, more than 1,700 businesses are related to forest products. The overall direct, indirect and induced jobs impact numbers for 2013 is 105,000 workers, earning $4.9 billion in wages. This represents 3 percent of the total wages paid in Washington State. Gross business income in forestry-related industries is approximately $28 billion per year, with $175 million paid in state and local taxes. According to a report by the Washington State Employment Security Department, more than 10 percent of forestry-related jobs are “green”, compared to about 3 percent for the state economy as a whole.
What’s next for Washington’s Forest Products sector
Advances in construction, such as cross-laminated timber, combined with the knowledge that wood building materials produce less air and water pollution, require less energy, and generate less CO2 emissions than other common building materials, means that forest products will continue to play a key role in our state’s efforts to address climate change and reduce carbon emissions. Likewise, the age-old use of biomass to power sawmills and pulp and paper mills is being modernized and adapted on a broader scale for more efficient use to provide renewable energy for communities in the Pacific Northwest and across the country. Even our future airline flights could be powered by jet fuel made from forest products, if projects under the direction of the University of Washington and Washington State University continue to be successful. This research has already sparked the interest of the Department of Defense, Boeing, Alaska Airlines and other commercial carriers.
Communication and coordination
Through coordinated stakeholder engagement and action, we will have an opportunity to make significant progress in building our Forest Products sector.
As a product of Washington’s timber country himself, Brian Hatfield’s passionate support for rural economic development and the defense of our state’s natural resources industries stood out during his 26 years of service, in and around the State Legislature. Brian first worked as an assistant to state Senators Arlie DeJarnatt and Sid Snyder, before being elected to the House of Representatives from southwest Washington’s 19th Legislative District in 1994.
He served in the House for 10 years, before joining the staff of Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen in 2004. In 2006, Brian became State Senator and, for most of his tenure, chaired the Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee. Brian also represented the Senate Democratic Caucus on the Lt. Governor’s Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations, and the Community Economic Revitalization Board, run by the Washington State Department of Commerce.
Brian is a graduate of Washington State University, with a degree in Public Administration.
Forest Products Sector Lead & Rural Economic Development Advisor