Employment: Forest, Conservation, and Logging Workers

Forest, conservation, and logging workers held about 81,000 jobs in 2002, distributed among the following occupations:

Logging equipment operators 43,000
Forest and conservation workers 14,000
Fallers 14,000
Log graders and scalers 10,000

Most wage and salary fallers and logging equipment operators are employed in logging camps and in the logging contractors industry, although some work in sawmills and planing mills. Employment of log graders and scalers is concentrated largely in sawmills and planing mills.

More than half of all forest and conservation workers work for government, primarily at the State and local level. Twenty percent are employed by companies that operate timber tracts, tree farms, or forest nurseries, or for contractors that supply services to agriculture and forestry industries. Some of those employed in forestry services work on a contract basis for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. A small number of forest and conservation workers work in sawmills and planing mills. Although forest and conservation workers are located in every State, employment is concentrated in the West and Southeast, where many national and private forests and parks are located.

Self-employed forestry, conservation, and logging workers account for almost 3 of every 10 such workers—a much higher proportion of self-employment than in most other occupations.

Seasonal demand for forest, conservation, and logging workers varies by region. For example, in the northern States, winter work is common because the frozen ground facilitates logging. In the Southeast, logging and related activities occur year-round.