Banner for LabNotes
From Lab Notes
Contact Information
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


You are here: FPL Home  / Information Products & Services  / Publications

Requested Product

Title: Profile 2009: Softwood Sawmillls in the United States and Canada

Source: USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, Research Paper, FPL-RP-659, October 2009

Author(s)Henry Spelter; David McKeever; Daniel Toth

Publication Year: 2009  View PDF »

Category: Research Papers
Associated Research Project(s):   FPL-4851-4A

Abstract: Between 2006 and the end of 2009, the production capacity of the softwood lumber sector covered by this report in the United States and Canada has shrunk from 190.8 million m3 (nominal) to 166.4 million m3. The corresponding number of mills slumped from 1,025 to 875 over the same time and from 1,322 recorded in 1995. The Canadian capacity went from 88.2 million m3 to 71.6 million m3, a loss of 19%, while the U.S. capacity dropped from 102.6 million m3 to 94.8 million m3, a loss of 8%. These losses are attributable to three unprofitable years of sawmilling caused by the contraction in construction. Construction and repair and remodeling of homes each accounted for about 35% of total lumber consumption in 2006. Their downturn has caused demand to lag substantially behind the capacity that was built up to supply the prior boom. The greater drop in Canadian capacity can be deduced from a number of factors including the imposition of tariffs of up to 15% on exports to the U.S. and the strengthening of the Canadian dollar. Based on underlying population growth, the demand for home building is expected to rebound but somewhat slowly until the overhang of unoccupied homes built in the former building surge is absorbed. Further attrition of capacity is likely, as profitability is unlikely to return until a combination of recovering demand and contracting supply due to further capacity attrition equalize in the market.

Keywords: Softwood; United States; inventories; Canada; forest products industry; statistics; sawmills; timber; sawmill capacity; sawmilling; sawmills; employment; wood end-use markets; market review; lumber; supply; demand

File size: 2,090 kb(s)

Date posted: 10/22/2009

This publication is also viewable on Treesearch:  view
RITS Product ID: 32815
Current FPL Scientists associated with this product (listed alphabetically)
McKeever, David B.
Research Forester
Spelter, Henry N.
Economist (Volunteer)

Additional items that might interest you
View the video celebrating FPL's 100 years of public service in 2010, from the producers of the Greatest Good....view

Research Highlights from FPL....view

Termite Eradication: A search for the Holy Grail.... view

Moisture Management in Residential Construction Series videos...view

Wood Floor Systems in Residential Construction Series videos....view
- FPL's Mission and Strategic Plan -

FPL's mission is to identify and conduct innovative wood and fiber utilization research that contributes to conservation and productivity of the forest resource, thereby sustaining forests, the economy, and quality of life. ... ..more »

- FPL Research Emphasis Areas -
Advanced Composites

As an integral part of the FPL mission, we improve the long-term sustainability of our Nation's forests by creating valuable composite products from biobased materials ... ..more »

Advanced Structures

The FPL has been in the forefront of wood-frame housing research since 1910 and has long been recognized as a world leader in such housing-related areas as engineered wood ... ..more »

Forest Biorefinery

We all know the compelling reasons that the United States needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Historically, the greatest increases in energy demand have been for transportation fuels ... ..more »


A leader in wood products research for over a century, the FPL is positioning itself to become the lead Federal research facility for the application of nanotechnology in forest products ... more »

Woody Biomass Utilization

Forests in the United States contain a substantial amount of small-diameter, overstocked, and underutilized material.FPL research projects are exploring the potential of the small-diameter ... ..more »