A mail survey was conducted in the fall of 2010 to investigate the impacts of the 2008 economic downturn on sawmill production, employment, and marketing in the Appalachian region. The mail survey was sent to 776 hardwood sawmills in the region and 58 valid responses were used in the study. It was determined that the average number of employees per mill had decreased from 42 to 30, a reduction of 29 percent during the period. At the same time, annual operating hours decreased 9 percent and weekly lumber production fell by 26 percent. Additional information collected with the survey indicated that the average log inventory reported by the responding mills was sufficient to allow production for 6 weeks. Weekly chip and sawdust production was reported as 139 and 81 tons, respectively. Sixty-seven percent of the reporting mills indicated they had changed their marketing strategies as a result of the downturn. Forty-six percent of the respondents reported they were exporting production to overseas markets.

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Author notes

The authors are, respectively, Research Assistant, Professor, Assistant Professor, and Graduate Research Assistant, West Virginia Univ., Forestry and Natural Resources, Morgantown (wlin2@mix.wvu.edu, jxwang@wvu.edu [corresponding author], David.DeVallance@mail.wvu.edu, dsummerf@mix.wvu.edu). This manuscript is published with approval of the Director of West Virginia Agric. Forestry Experimental Sta. as Scientific Article no. 3216. This paper was received for publication in September 2011. Article no. 11-00112.