Forest industry employment

Why is this indicator important?

The Canadian forest industry is a major employer nationwide. While the forest industry contributes to the economic, environmental and social welfare of all Canadians, these contributions are particularly important in many rural and Aboriginal communities, where forest-related work is often the main source of income.

In addition to direct employment,Footnote 1 which refers to jobs directly related to the production of forest products, the forest industry also provides indirect employment and induced employment. These jobs are especially significant in smaller forest-dependent communities. Indirect employment includes jobs necessary for forest industry activity but which occur outside the industry itself, such as investors, truckers and equipment manufacturers. Induced employment includes jobs created when those employed in forest industry activities use their wages to purchase consumer goods and services.

What has changed and why?

In 2012, direct employment in the Canadian forest industry rose slightly (by 0.9%) compared with 2011 levels, to 235,900 jobs. This was due mostly to employment increases in the wood product manufacturing sector and supporting activities, which more than offset declines in the pulp and paper product manufacturing sector.

Employment in wood product manufacturing was up 3.2%, and remained the largest share of employment in the Canadian forest industry (49.1%). This is a clear signal that the wood product manufacturing sector has started to recover, thanks to the rebound of the U.S. housing market and robust offshore lumber exports, particularly to China. In-forest activities responded strongly to improvements in the wood product manufacturing sector, up 11.6% in 2012 compared to 2011.

Employment in the pulp and paper product manufacturing sector, however, was down 9.2% in 2012 from 2011. This decline was the result of the enormous challenges that face this sector, which include the structural decline of newsprint and printing and writing papers due to the rise of electronic media and to a cyclical slowdown in global pulp markets.

Indirect and induced employment in the forest industry in 2012 was an estimated 363,700 jobs. These were spread across all regions of Canada, and followed trends similar to those for direct employment.

What is the future outlook?

With lumber and wood panel markets continuing to improve, it is likely that there will be further employment increases in wood product manufacturing in 2013. Meanwhile, as challenges facing the pulp and paper manufacturing industry still exist, the downward pressure on employment in this sector will likely remain. Overall continued modest improvement in employment through 2013 is expected.

Table displays direct employment, indirect and induced employment and the total employment for the years 2002 and 2012 in person-years.
Employment 2002 2012
Direct 355,500 235,900
Indirect and induceda 548,100 363,700
Total 903,600 599,600

a Estimate calculated by the Canadian Forest Service based on data from Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey.
Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, March 2013 (special extraction)

Table displays direct employment by forest-related subsectors and total as (1) person-years in 2012, (2) percentage change from the previous year and (3) as average annual percentage change over the previous ten years.
Subsector Employment (person-years) Percentage change from previous yeara Average annual percentage change over previous 10 yearsb
Wood product manufacturing 115,900 3.2 -4.1
Pulp and paper product manufacturing 68,200 -9.2 -4.3
In-forest activities 51,800 11.6 -3.5
Total 235,900 0.9 -4.0

a Percentage change calculated based on raw data.
b The period 2002–2012
Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, March 2013 (special extraction)

Forest industry direct employment, 2002-2012

Graph displays direct employment in the forest industry in thousands of jobs for each year between 2002 and 2012 for: wood product manufacturing, pulp and paper product manufacturing, forestry and logging, support activities for forestry and total forest industry.

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, March 2013 (special extraction)
Long description (includes data table)


Footnote 1

While indirect and induced employment are also important elements of forest industry employment, this analysis focuses mainly on direct employment because of data availability.

Return to footnote 1 referrer