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Individual Highlight

Overall investment activity in the woodworking industry is likely to increase

Photo of Hardwood lumber ready to ship to woodworking plants. Hardwood lumber ready to ship to woodworking plants. Snapshot : Business investments are critical to the productivity and competitiveness of the U.S. woodworking industry. With employment and sales volume improving in many sectors of the industry, companies seem well-positioned to make investments to improve their capabilities. This notion was confirmed in a recent study.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Bumgardner, Matthew 
Research Location : United States
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1256


Forest Service scientists and their university collaborators partnered with a major trade publication to assess business investments in the U.S. woodworking industry. Overall, 76 percent of small firms (1-19 employees) and 96 percent of large firms (20 or more employees) indicated they planned to invest to improve productivity or capabilities over a three-year period (2015-2017). Across most investment areas studied (14 total), more large firms than small firms planned investment activity. Nearly half of large firms planned to invest in sales force expansion and employee training. For small firms, marketing communications was the most important area for investment with 30 percent planning to spend there. Large firms also rated most potential reasons for investing as more important than did small firms, suggesting that small firms perceived fewer benefits to investment or faced financial limitations. For example, only 9 percent of small firms planned to invest $250,000 or more while 32 percent of large firms planned to spend more than $1 million. The assessment results suggested that overall investment activity in the woodworking industry was likely to increase, especially for larger firms. Understanding investment needs and patterns is important because investments improve the long-term health of the woodworking industry and thus help strengthen communities.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Virginia Tech
  • Woodworking Network

Program Areas