Kentucky's forest industry, along with many others, continue to face COVID related challenges. This annualFigures 1 and 2 report estimates the economic contribution of the overall forest sector across Kentucky in both rural and urban areas. The overall Kentucky forest sector contribution has remained stable over the last couple of years with the sector providing an estimated $9.09 billion in direct contributions in 2021 and a total estimated economic contribution of $13.18 billion (Figure 1). These economic figures are down 5% from 2019 before COVID. The Kentucky forest sector also directly employed nearly 26,000 people in 2021 with indirect and induced employment resulting in a total of more than 50,000 Kentucky jobs (Figure 2). The direct labor wages for the Kentucky forest sector were $1.8 billion in 2021 with total labor wages reaching $3.1 billion.


The 2021 estimates varied by sub-sector. Logging and primary wood manufacturing were down 5.21%Table 1 and pulp and paper were down 1.74% in comparison to 2020. Secondary wood manufacturing was up 1.93% and wood residue was up 4.15% while paper converters remained flat in 2021 (Table 1). The  primary and secondary industries have been impacted by short supply of logs due to less loggers active in the woods. Labor shortages, significantly impacted by COVID, have affected all sectors of the forest products  industry and has been partly to blame for the logging sector lagging.