Man at sawmill working with wood products

Economic Value of New York's Forest Resource

The forest industry employs more than 41,000 people and generates $13.1 billion in direct output annually.
Economic Value of New York's Forest Resource
Economic Value of New York's Forest Resource

New York State is comprised of 30.2 million acres, 63% of which is classified as forested (18.9 million acres). These lands provide numerous and significant benefits for both the residents of New York and its many annual visitors. The Wood Products Development Council has identified a need for better information on the economic contributions of forestry and wood products industry. SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry employed IMPLAN data and a multiplier analysis to establish the economic impacts of the forest sector on the New York State economy.

Figure 1: Direct Economic Impact by the New York Forest Sector in Millions
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New York State receives significant benefits from the forest industry. The sector is composed of 4 broad categories of output: Forestry and Logging; Solid Wood Products; Pulp and Paper Products; and Wood Furniture. The forest economy of New York generated $13.1 billion in direct output with around 70% attributable to the production activities of the pulp and paper industry, Figure 1. In addition, the sector provides more than 41,000 direct employment and $2.5 billion in direct labor income, Figure 2. This provides for an average labor income per worker of $61,526.

Figure 2: Direct Employment by the New York Forest Sector

The forest sector’s linkages to the state’s economy generated an additional $9.8 billion in indirect and induced production activities for a total state wide economic impact of $22.9 billion dollars Figure 3.

Figure 3: Direct, Indirect and Induced Economic Impacts by the New York Forest Sector in Millions

An additional 53,992 jobs are also generated for a total economic impact of nearly 100,000 jobs state wide and $3.7 billion additional labor income for a total economic impact of $6.2 billion in labor income state wide.

Figure 4: New York State Economic Development Council Regions

Forestry activities occur in all parts of the state. We utilized the New York State Economic Development Council (EDC) regions, Figure 4 to describe the regional diversity of the sector. For this analysis, we combined the New York City and Long Island regions to make the analysis clearer. Figure 5 shows the total direct impact of the forest sector in the 9 EDC regions.

Figure 5: Total Direct Economic Outpit of the Forest Sector by EDC Region in millions

Somewhat surprisingly, the combined economic regions of New York City/Long Island, the Capital District, and the mid-Hudson represent fully half of the total output for the sector. This is because secondary manufacturers are often based in these areas. 

The forest sector in the North Country region is a very important economic driver. The sector represents nearly 5% of the total economic output and employment of the region. This is much higher than in any other region of the state.

The sector has recovered exceptionally well in recent years from the economic slowdown to the general economy. Figure 6 shows that the percentage growth in direct output, employment, and labor income from 2010-2014 (most current available). As a whole, the sector had a positive growth of almost 14% in output, 8% in employment, and 12% in labor income. Most of this growth occurred in solid wood products and pulp and paper. Employment also increased but labor income increased at a greater rate.

Figure 6: Percentage growth output, employment, and labor income, 2010-2014
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