Employment of logging workers is projected to decline 4 percent from 2014 to 2024. However, there will be a need to replace workers who retire or leave the occupation permanently.
Domestic timber producers continue to face competition from foreign producers.
In addition, efforts to conserve federal forest lands have yielded policies that limit the logging industry's ability to cultivate raw forest material. However, federal legislation designed to prevent destructive wildfires by thinning susceptible forests may result in some additional jobs.
Ongoing mechanization within the logging industry will spur demand for logging equipment operators because they will be increasingly needed to operate equipment. Mechanization of logging operations and improvements in logging equipment have increased productivity and made logging work safer, resulting in less demand for logging workers who work by hand. However, some fallers will continue to be needed to fell trees on slopes that cannot be accessed by large machinery.
During prolonged periods of inactivity, some workers may stay on the job to maintain or repair logging machinery and equipment while others receive unemployment benefits, seek work elsewhere, or retire.
Job opportunities should be good because of the need to replace older workers who leave the occupation for retirement or for other jobs that are less physically demanding.
Employment of logging workers can be unsteady because changes in the level of construction, particularly residential construction, can cause short-term slowdowns in logging activities.
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Total, all occupations
Forest, conservation, and logging workers
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program