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Less demand for paper chops away at Minnesota logging industry

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Less demand for paper and wood for housing during the real estate slump has been hard on Minnesota loggers.

The tree harvest in Minnesota had dropped 40 percent in six years as of July, the Star Tribune reports. This year, for the first time in three decades, loggers in Minnesota might harvest less than 2.5 million cords of timber.

In the past decade, 22,500 jobs in logging have disappeared in the United States, a 32 percent decline, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the bureau also predicts slow job growth from 2010 to 2020.

Logging was a vital part of the growth of the state. Commercial lumbering began in Minnesota in 1839, according the Minnesota History Museum, which has more on the industry.

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Minnesota's logging industry struggles to find business

The recent shutdown of the Verso paper mill in Sartell and the Georgia-Pacific hardboard plant in Duluth are the latest blows to the state's logging industry that has been going downhill since the last recession. Six mills have closed over the past five years, reducing the demand for timber.