Employment of logging workers is projected to grow more slowly than the average over the 2008-18 decade. Despite slower than average employment growth, job opportunities should be good because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation for jobs that are less hazardous.
Employment of logging workers is expected to grow 6 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is slower than the average for all occupations. New policies allowing some access to Federal timberland may result in some logging jobs, and Federal legislation designed to prevent destructive wildfires by proactively thinning forests in susceptible regions also may result in additional jobs. Foreign and domestic demand for new wood products, such as wood pellets, is expected to result in some employment growth as well. Nonetheless, domestic timber producers continue to face increasing competition from foreign producers, who can harvest the same amount of timber at lower cost. The logging industry is expected to continue to consolidate in order to reduce costs, which may offset the creation of most new jobs.
Increased mechanization of logging operations and improvements in logging equipment will continue to depress demand for many manual timber-cutting and logging workers. Employment of fallers, buckers, choke setters, and other workers whose jobs are labor intensive should decline as more laborsaving equipment is used. Employment of machinery and equipment operators, such as tree harvesting, skidding, and log-handling equipment operators, will be less adversely affected and should rise as logging companies switch away from manual tree felling.
Despite slower than average employment growth, job opportunities should be good because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation for other jobs that are less physically demanding, dangerous, and prone to layoffs. Employment of logging workers can sometimes be unsteady as changes in the level of construction, particularly residential construction, can cause slowdowns in logging activities in the short term. In addition, logging operations must be relocated when timber in a particular area has been harvested. During prolonged periods of inactivity, some workers may stay on the job to maintain or repair logging machinery and equipment, but others are laid off or forced to find jobs in other occupations.
Logging workers held about 66,100 jobs in 2008 in the following occupations:
|Logging equipment operators
|Log graders and scalers
|Logging workers, all others
About half of all logging workers work for the logging industry. Another 31 percent are self-employed, who mostly work under contract to landowners and the logging industry. About 10 percent work in the wood product manufacturing industry, mainly in sawmills.
Seasonal demand for logging workers can vary by region and time of year. For northern States in particular, winter weather can interrupt logging operations, although some logging can be done in winter.
Job Zone 1 - Little or no preparation needed
No previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience
is needed. For example, you can become a general office
clerk even if you haven't worked in an office.
These occupations may require a high school diploma or GED
certificate. Some may require a formal training course to
obtain a license.
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few days
to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker
could show you how to do the job.
Bus drivers, forest and conservation workers, general office
clerks, home health aides, and waiters/waitresses.
These occupations often involve following instructions and
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For information about timber-cutting and logging careers and about secondary and postsecondary programs offering training for logging occupations, contact:
For information on the Sustainable Forestry Initiative training programs, contact:
- American Forest & Paper Association, 1111 19th St. NW., Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036-3652. Internet: http://www.afandpa.org
A list of State forestry associations and other forestry-related State associations is available at most public libraries. Schools of Forestry at State land-grant colleges or universities also can be useful sources of information.
Sources: O*Net data version 12.0
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Department of Labor
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