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Forestry and the Wisconsin Economy

The forest products industry in Wisconsin provides more than 64,000 full and part-time jobs and has a total industry output of $24.5 billion and value-added of $7.1 billion. It ranks 11th in terms of number of full-and part-time jobs, 9th in value-added, and 2rd in industry output in the state. Every ten jobs in the forest products industry support additional thirteen jobs in other sectors in the state. Combining direct, indirect, and induced effect, the industry contributes over 140,000 jobs with an annual gross output of $38 billion.

  • The forest products industry:
    • is the number one employer in ten counties: Florence, Iron, Lincoln, Marathon, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Trempealeau, and Winnebago;
    • is one of the top ten employers in 31 counties: Adams, Ashland, Barron, Brown, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Crawford, Dunn, Florence, Forest, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Oconto, Outagamie, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Shawano, Taylor, Trempealeau, Vernon, Vilas, Washburn, Waupaca, Winnebago, and Wood;
    • is the number one industry for value-added in ten counties: Ashland, Chippewa, Florence, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Trempealeau, Winnebago, and Wood;
    • is one of the top ten industries for value-added in 33 counties: Adams, Ashland, Barron, Brown, Chippewa, Clark, Crawford, Dunn, Florence, Forest, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Outagamie, Portage, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Shawano, Taylor, Trempealeau, Vilas, Washburn, Washington, Waupaca, Winnebago, and Wood;
    • is the number one industry for industry output in 16 counties: Adams, Ashland, Brown, Chippewa, Florence, Iron, Marinette, Oneida, Outagamie, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Trempealeau, Waupaca, Winnebago, and Wood;
    • is one of the top ten industries for industry output in 38 counties: Adams, Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Brown, Chippewa, Clark, Crawford, Dunn, Eau Claire, Florence, Forest, Iron, Jefferson, Langlade, Lincoln, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Monroe, Oconto, Oneida, Outagamie, Portage, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Shawano, Sheboygan, Sr. Croix, Taylor, Trempealeau, Vilas, Washburn, Washington, Waupaca, Winnebago, and Wood.
  • Brown County has the largest number of forest products industry jobs, industry output, and value-added in the state.
  • Trempealeau County has the largest number of sawmills and wood products jobs, industry output, and value-added in the state.
  • Brown County has the largest number of pulp and paper products jobs and industry output in the state whereas Winnebago county has the highest value-added.

Economic fact sheets

View a particular county fact sheet in PDF format:


The DNR Division of Forestry has used 2018 data to model the economic impacts of the forest industry in Wisconsin [PDF] as a whole and for each individual county using the Impact Analysis for Planning (IMPLAN). This software was originally developed by the U.S. Forest Service in cooperation with the University of Minnesota and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The model is designed to estimate economic effects of an industry on the local or regional economy. For more details about the database and how we’ve used IMPLAN, contact the division’s forest economist.

Covid-19 impact to Forestry Economy

The Covid-19 public health emergency has brought major changes to the Wisconsin economy. Wisconsin forest products industry lost about 4.8% of direct jobs (over 3,000) and 9.6% of direct industry output ($2.4 billion) during 2018 and 2020-Q2. In total, Wisconsin lost over 10.5% of jobs (over 15,000) tied to the forest products industry. View our Impact of COVID-19 on Wisconsin Forest Products Industry [PDF] factsheet for more details on the impact of Covid-19 to the forestry economy.

Reports