Oil and gas are king in Oklahoma’s economy but not in the eastern part of the state where forest and forest products industry are tops.
And a new report from the State Forestry Services and Oklahoma State University indicates that the forest industry had a total impact of $5.1 billion on Oklahoma’s economy based on 2016 information.
The Economic Importance of Forestry in Oklahoma report showed the industry supported more than 19,000 jobs with a payroll of $1 billion. The numbers represented significant increases over the last report which was based on 2012 information.Dr. Omkar Joshi, forest economist at Oklahoma State University, conducted this analysis along with his graduate students Morgan Starr and Paulina Harron.
Dr. Omkar Joshi is optimistic about future growth of Oklahoma’s forest industry.
“In this region, abundant timber supply, the flow of capital investments in the mills and increased consumer confidence have contributed to the growth of forestry industries in recent years,” said Dr. Omkar Joshi, Oklahoma State University forest economist. “There has been a steady increase in demand for secondary wood products in the urban areas, which has generated meaningful employment opportunities in Oklahoma. This trend is expected to continue with the surges in population.”
Additionally, the report revealed that Oklahoma’s forest industry has directly contributed $3.3 billion to the state’s economy, employing over 8,789 people with wages and salaries in excess of $454 million.
“We want Oklahomans to know that our forests and forest industry have a significant impact on the state economy,” said Oklahoma Forestry Director and State Forester Mark Goeller. “We also want to make people aware that, in addition to the measurable economic contribution, our forests provide invaluable ecological benefits such as clean air and water, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and scenic beauty.”
Oklahoma Forestry Services is committed to conserving, enhancing and protecting Oklahoma’s 12.5 million acres of forests and woodlands.