Montana Lumber Mills Closure Felt Across the State – Over 100 Employees Projected to be Cut, According to Economist
Montana is still feeling the aftershock of the closure by Weyerhaeuser of two Montana lumber mills. Forest products economist Todd Morgan from the Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research said the job losses will go beyond the 100 Weyerhaeuser employees who were cut.
"The extent of that impact was beyond those 100 jobs because typically in wood products manufacturing, there's at least one other job for every job that's in the sector. It kind of has the multiplier effect," Morgan said. "It will really double the impact of where that will be felt in the economy."
The closures may be good news for competing mills. Weyerhaeuser's stated reason for closing was because it could not get enough logs form the forests, a problem that impacts all Montana mills.
"Looking forward here in Montana, I would expect that with the closure of the two mills, the saw mill and the plywood plant, they will be shifting some production, some of that timber consumption will move to the remaining two mills in Evergreen," Morgan said. "It will to some extent reduce some of that pressure, that shortage, because there will be two fewer buyers of logs than there were."
According to Morgan, the modern Montana timber industry bottomed out in 2009, but current cuts are causing the industry to dip precipitously close to that all-time low.