According to the most recent data released by North Carolina State University (May 2016), the forest products industry continues to be the states top manufacturing industry.
There are over 1,000 forest products facilities that contribute roughly 70,300 jobs to North Carolinian’s across the state. When you include direct and indirect employment, the forest products sector creates over 140,000 jobs.
Not included in this data, but equally important, are the contributions that our forests make to the states environment and to other industries such as tourism. The economic value of clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation is enormous.
While North Carolina is one of the fastest growing states, the forestland base that provides the raw material for this industry remains healthy and plentiful thanks to the efforts of forest landowners and foresters across the state. According to the most recent data, North Carolina is home to 18.6 million acres of forestland, 86% of which is privately owned. Approximately 64% of these privately held lands are owned by non-industrial landowners. Despite the enormous growth our state has witnessed, 60% of North Carolina is still covered by forests.