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Logging remains vital to rural Oregon

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

THE HISTORY CHANNEL’S Axmen series has drawn a spotlight to Oregon’s logging industry. Although it can be dangerous – logging occupations ranked third in 2006 fatality rates at 82.1 deaths per 100,000 ­­­— and though employment dropped more than 30% due to mechanization and environmental concerns since the early 1990s, the industry is still important. As of 2007, 90% of Oregon’s 7,100 logging jobs were located outside of the Portland metropolitan area. At $39,695 in 2006, the industry’s annual average wage was above the all-industry average of $38,070, making logging a valuable source of income for rural areas. But after a period of relative stability beginning in the late 1990s, employment dropped 500 since 2005, this time in response to slower home construction. Projections show the industry declining by 3%, or 200 jobs, between 2006 and 2016. However, an estimated 1,500 replacement openings, due largely to retirements, will provide opportunities for some new loggers.

BRIAN ROONEY
Worksource Oregon Employment Economist

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