The forests of Kentucky provide countless ecosystem and economic benefits to the Commonwealth. This report estimates Kentucky Forest Sector Direct and Total Economic Contribution (2015-18)the economic contribution of the overall forest sector in both rural and urban areas. Since 2015, the overall Kentucky forest sector has remained stable ranging from $8.4 billion in direct contributions to an estimated $8.79 billion. In 2018 it was $8.52 billion. The total economic contribution ranged from $13.29 billion in total contributions to an estimated $13.66 billion, in 2018 it was $13.51 billion. More than 26,500 people are directly employed in Kentucky’s forest sector. When indirect and induced employment is included the total employment numbers swell to over 60,000. Forest sector employees were paid an estimated $1.61 billion in labor wages during 2018.

KY Forest Sector Direct and Total jobs


To estimate economic contribution in 2018, the 2017 economic data was adjusted based on input from forest industry companies Ky Forest Sector Direct Economic Contribution Estimatesin Kentucky. The biggest estimated change from 2017 was a drop of over 5% for the primary wood manufacturing sub-sector (Table 1). This production drop is due to mills building inventories as a result of diminishing demand for red oak, ash, and other species for export. Exports were impacted by threats of tariffs, full warehouses, and a slowing Chinese economy. Wet weather impacted loggers, log supply, and sawmill output. The revived paper mill in west Kentucky should increase output and employment in the pulp and paper sector.