KY Forest Sector Direct and Total Contribution

Kentucky's forests cover nearly one-half of the state and provide a significant range of both economic and non-economic benefits to the Commonwealth. Utilizing a new economic contribution analysis methodology, this report estimates the economic contribution of the overall Kentucky forest sector in both rural and urban Kentucky. Since 2015, the overall Kentucky forest sector has remained stable ranging from $8.79 billion in direct contributions to an estimated $8.35 billion in 2017. The total economic contribution ranged from $13.67 billion in total contributions to an estimated $13.25 billion in 2017.

KY Forest Sector Direct and Total jobsThe Kentucky forest sector remains an important employer for Kentucky. Since 2015, the Kentucky forest sector has directly employed more than 26,000 people. On average, the Kentucky forest sector spends more than $1.5 billion annually on labor wages. Total employment attributed to the Kentucky forest sector was 60,327 in 2015 and an estimated 59,476 in 2017.

   

KY Forest Sector Economic Contribution in 2017Utilizing 2016 economic data along with employment and production information from Kentucky’s forest sub-sectors we estimate changes in the economic contribution of the forest sector in 2017 (Table 1). While some change is expected within the forest sector we estimate that overall employment and economic contribution in 2017 will be very close to 2016 levels. The main uncertainty remains with the pulp and paper industry which we estimate to decline 15 percent in 2017 from the 2016 contribution estimates as the closing of the Verso mill in western Kentucky is projected to be fully accounted for in the 2017 data.