As part of a study on the impacts of wood chip mills in North Carolina, we analyzed the economic contributions of the forest products sector and tourism sector in the state, using a variety of regional economic and demographic data bases and the IMPLAN input-output model. As of 1996, forest products firms in the state employed about 105,000 people and the nature-based tourism sector about 91,000 people. Total employee compensation in the forest products industry was $3.2 billion; for tourism it was $1.4 billion. Industrial output was $13.5 billion for the forest products industry in 1996, and $3.9 billion for the tourism sector. Value added, which provides a economic measure consistent with Gross State Product (GSP), was $4.9 billion for the forest products sector and $2.2 billion for the nature-based tourism sector, compared to the state GSP of $204 billion. From 1977 to 1996, value added in the forest products sector increased 6.6 percent per year, compared to 8.7 percent for the total state economy, and 9.1 percent for the tourism-based sector. The oldest population class in the state (65 years or more) was projected to increase the most (90 percent) over the next two decades, compared to 30 percent for the total state population, favoring more growth in the service-based economic sector than the manufacturing sector.

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