Wisconsin’s Paper Industry Still Leads the Nation, WEDC Study Finds

Wisconsin’s paper industry continues to lead the nation on many economic measures, according to a new study released by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

The study by the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology (WIST) at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point found the state ranks first in the nation in the number of paper mills, the number of employees and the value of products sold.

Wisconsin’s pulp, paper and converting industries directly generated $18.2 billion in economic output and employed more than 30,000 workers in 2018, the report found.

The paper industry’s total contributions to Wisconsin’s economy—including direct, indirect and induced benefits—come to more than $28.8 billion and more than 95,000 jobs. Indirect benefits include money spent on supplies or other materials or services that supply the industry, while “induced benefits” refers to the spending of personal income from the direct and indirect benefits.

The study also reveals the geographic breadth of the paper manufacturing industry in Wisconsin, with 41 of the state’s 72 counties home to at least one paper manufacturing business, whether that is a mill or a converter. In some counties paper manufacturing represents more than 20% of manufacturing activity.