How big is the U.S. woodworking industry? Very big, accounting for billions of dollars in services and, even billions of dollars more in highly prized manufacturing activities taking place right here in the U.S.
Why should you care? Well, when woodworking businesses apply for loans, or petition government agencies for support - everything from zonal variances, to sewer systems, railroad spurs or highway exit ramps - it gives your business increased "standing" to be part of the bigger fabric of a large and highly valued industry segment.
A perfect example is Carl Spencer, who testified Sept. 19 to the International Trade Commission on trade issues around Chinese plywood imports. Spencer spoke on behalf of thousands of woodworking businesses, as well as his own Spencer Cabinetry.
Giving weight to his words was the size of his business. Listen in:
"We are very proud of our company and our 15 employees. Over the last eight years we have maintained one of the fastest growth rates in North America, currently approaching $2.0 million in sales.
"The kitchen cabinet industry overall is currently almost a $9 billion dollar industry which has a very low barrier of entry and is therefore highly fragmented.
"Roughly one-third of the U.S. cabinet market is controlled by seven companies (including Norcraft), but 60% of the industry is made up of approximately nine thousand companies like mine, all under $15 million per year. We are, in fact, the backbone of our industry, both in terms of aggregate revenues and aggregate jobs."
Cabinet manufacturing is part of the secondary woodworking industry, an industry that straddles two major segments: wood products production, a manufacturing activity; and interior woodworking, a service activity within the construction sector.
Millions of woodworkers are employed in these arenas: secondary wood manufacturing (including flooring, cabinets, furniture, windows, doors, panel and wood components); and woodworking interior building (architectural millwork and custom wood interiors and installation).
Putting a number on the size of the market and its value to American society, Wood Products magazine devotes its December 2013 issue to the Wood Industry ALMANAC - a guide to the woodworking industry, and a tool for finding resources and training to grow your business and educate yourself and your employees
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.