Cutting more trees does not mean creating more jobs. That’s a point this blog has made at least a couple of times. And it’s the same point made today in an opinion piece in the Eugene Register-Guard. Automation, not spotted owls, decimated the Northwest’s forest jobs. By the same token, weakening the Endangered Species Act and opening up roadless areas for logging will not herald a new era of timber employment.
Here’s the crux of the article:
In 1979, it took 4.5 workers to mill 1 million board feet of lumber. By 1989, it took just two workers to mill the same 1 million board feet.
Economists called it increased efficiency. Mill owners called it increased productivity. Millworkers called it unemployment. Merchants in mill towns called it bankruptcy.