The B.C. foresting industry is ending the year on a high note.

According to Forest, Mines and Lands Minister Pat Bell, 2010 will end with several clear signs that a stronger, more diverse foresting sector is moving towards a healthy recovery.

The province’s main foresting exports include pulp, paper, plywood and lumber.

Bell explains that the forest sector “was much busier this year and it appears that the worst of the economic downturn is behind us. The latest net earnings summary from PricewaterhouseCoopers reported all of B.C.’s largest foresting companies showing profits in the third quarter. This is the first time in a decade that we have seen quarterly profits across the board.”

One of the most encouraging indicators of success to come is Asia Pacific’s steadily increasing demand for B.C. wood products.

In September, the industry saw, for the first time ever, the value of products shipped to China and Japan surpass the value of those shipped to the United States. The growth of the Chinese market is estimated to make up for the lack of U.S. housing industry in 2010.

Another benefit of the Chinese market is the increased demand for employment. Bell claims that “increased demand for China means more forestry workers are back on the job, more mills are running and forest-dependant communities are enjoying more economic stability.”

In the timber harvesting industry alone, jobs are up by 4,500 over 2009. Jobs are also up in the wood product manufacturing sector. The past year has seen more than 20 saw-mills re-open their doors. As a result, this has led to a 5.2 per cent increase over 2009, providing an additional 1,400 jobs.

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