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Michigan State University

Forestry Research Guide: Historic Research

This is a guide to resources in the study of Forestry.

Dendrology: the scientific study of trees

Silviculture: the growing and cultivation of trees. from The New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd. Erin McKean. Oxford University Press, 2005


This page provides links to historic US Census data and other sources of data on the American lumber and sawmill industies. Most of this information was originally issued as part of the Population and Housing Census, then later as part of the Manufacturing, Selected Industry Series of the Census.

Page Contents
Census Data
Forest Service Documents
Books, Articles

Census Data

General information:

Census of Manufacturing, Industry series, Industry 24 is Lumber and sawmills, etc.
The volumes have a table of the number of sawmills by state for the number of all sawmills, and the number of those with 20 or more employees.
The table is consistently TABLE 24A-8.
Location of the MSU Library volumes: 3W-Census Alcove.  Call no: C3.24:[year]

Census links in chronological order:

1880 - Tenth Census of the United States.
Volume 2. Report on the Manufactures of the United States embracing general statistics and monographs
Table 7, 9. Lumber sawed: p. 454 [9 of 30]
For in-text remarks, incuding the mention of lumber production in Michigan by name, see page xix [pdf pgae 15 of 45] on

Of possible related interest: Volume 9. Report on the Forests of North America (Exclusive of Mexico) -

1890 - Eleventh Census of the United States
Volume 6: Report on Manufacturing Industries in the United States, Part 3: Selected Industries
[left side] Forest Industries:

1900 - Twelfth Census of the United States
Census Reports Volume VII-Manufactures – Part I -
6 - General Tables: Specified Industries – United States by States, p.24+ [of the pdf file, not the actual page nuber]   

12 - Industry Groups by States and Territories, general stats, p. 5 [472 of the document].  Michigan, p. 24 / 491. 37+ / 505+.

Census Reports Volume IX – Manufactures Part III, Special Reports on Selected Industries - #7: Lumber-Clay Products 
TOC page:
Bulletin 77, Lumber and Timber Products / By United States. Bureau of the Census, United States. Census Office. 12th Census, 1900,%20sawmills,%20and%20planing%20mills%22&f=false

1910 Thirteenth Census Of The United States
V. 10 Manufactures - 3 - Slaughtering and Meat Packing [Sugar industry, Lumber industry], 84+/487+

1920  Fourteenth Census of the United States
Volume X, Manufactures, 1919, Reports for SelectedIndustries -
TOC page
5 - Lumber and its Remanufactures, full 73 page document
Michigan, lumber - 149/152

1924 Biennial census of manufactures
Business & Economics - 663 pages
Group 4 - Lumber and its remanufacturers

1930 Fifteenth Census of the United States
Volume II, Manufactures: Reports by Industries, #5 Industries by Groups continued - specifically, pdf page 92 (of 150)

1940 Sixteenth Census of the United States
Manufacturers: 1939 – Volume II Part 1
#7: Lumber and Timber Basic Products

1954 United States Census of Manufactures
Volume 2, Part 1, Lumber and Timber Basic Products [Table 24A series]

1958 - United States Census of Manufactures

1963 Census of Manufactures
Industry statistics. pt.l. Major groups 20 to 28. pt.2. Major groups 29 to 39 and 19,  Major Group 24 - Lumber and Wood Products - 24A "Logging camps, sawmills and planing mills"

1977 Census of Manufactures
Industry statistics, Part 1 [includes data from 1963-1977],%20sawmills,%20and%20planing%20mills%22&f=false

1977 Census of Manufactures
Subject statistics, Volume 1  By United States. Bureau of the Census. Industry Division

1982 Census of Manufactures
Industry Series Logging Camps Sawmills and Planning Mills [includes data for 1977 and 1982]

1992 Census of Manufactures
Industry series. Logging camps, sawmills, and ...  By United States. Bureau of the Census  [includes data for 1992 and 1987]

1997 Economic Census
Manufacturing. Industry series.  Sawmill and woodworking machinery manufacturing [electronic resource].

2002 Economic Census
Manufacturing. Industry series. Sawmills

2007 Economic Census
NAICS 321113 - Sawmills - links to tabular data

2012 Economic Census
NAICS 321113 - Sawmills - links to tabular data


Books, Articles

Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970: Part I - Click on "L. Forestry and Fisheries" in the left column

Title: Labor for Forestry Operations – Issues for the 1990s
Authors:   R. B. Rummer
Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 37(2): 639-645. @1994
Keywords:   Logging, Mechanization, Productivity, Safety
The forestry workforce is facing significant challenges in the 1990s. Review of past trends in employment, labor productivity, and safety performance suggests that the number of loggers will continue to decrease and the remaining loggers will become more efficient. Safety will improve because of increasing mechanization and increasing production from southern operations. Areas for future investigation in forest workforce issues will include the effects of mechanization and individual worker performance on safety and productivity.
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan
Available online to MSU (last article listed, at the bottom of the page) -

Ahn, SoEun and Robert C. Abt. Productivity measurement with improved index numbers: Application to the sawmills and planing mills industry of the U.S.: 1947–2000. Forest Policy and Economics, Volume 8, Issue 3, April 2006, Pages 323-335 

Jensen, Vernon H. Lumber and labor. New York, Farrar & Rinehart [1945]
Series:    Labor in twentieth century America [Chapter 4 - Great Lakes Region]

Zaremba, Joseph. Economics of the American lumber industry. New York, R. Speller [1963]