Oregon’s wood products industry shows slight job growth

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Numbers from the Oregon Employment Department show the wood products industry may be experiencing a slight rebound, with companies in central Oregon expected to hire as many as 2,900 people over the next six years to replace retiring workers and fill new positions.

The Bulletin newspaper in Bend reports that could mean more jobs in Deschutes and Crook counties.

Brian Rooney, a regional labor economist with the Employment Department, says the wood-product manufacturing sector is still a large industry in Oregon when it comes to jobs and revenue. The industry, which includes manufacturers of particle board, plywood and two-by-fours, represents $1.1 billion in total payroll across Oregon.

Rooney says the industry is rebounding a bit. That’s in part because of new housing being built and a focus on harvesting smaller diameter logs.

Still, Rooney says the wood-products industry isn’t what it was in the heyday of the 1970s, when central Oregon towns had their own mills and access to more raw materials on public and private land.