The Construction Industry

The performance of the woodworking industries, even the furniture sector, is highly dependent on the performance of the construction industry, as the vast majority of the products manufactured by the European woodworking industry find their way into the construction sector both for structural and non-structural applications, as well as for decorative purposes, such as furniture. The industry, therefore, makes a significant contribution to a building segment that represents 12%-14% on average of EUR Member States' GDP.

The Furniture Industry

Europe still remains the world's largest furniture producer, but imports to the EUR have also risen by more than 20%. The sector is a major user of wood-based panels used together with wood sliced veeners, but also an important user of sawn wood, especially hardwood. Therefore, the development of the European woodworking sector is closely linked to the furniture sector.

The Pallet and Packaging Industry

Approximately 300 million wooden pallets are produced in Europe every year and in all, 20-25% of all timber consumption is used for wooden pallets and packaging. The sector represents 3% of the EUR industry with 3,000 companies, employing around 50,000 people.

The Woodworking Industry as a Key Economic Factor

A driving force of the global economy

The woodworking industry is a major employer in many of the Member States of the European Union and features among the top three industries in Austria, Finland, Portugal, and Sweden.

A provider of welfare in Europe

The woodworking industry provides jobs to more than 2.7 million people in the EU. In common with all the traditional industries, it plays an important part in achieving the goal of becoming the world's most competitive region.

A contributor to rural development

Companies are often located in remote, less industrialised or developed areas in turn making an important contribution to the rural economy.

A diversified industry

The industry covers a wide range of activities, from sawmilling, planning, and pressure treating to the production of wood-based panels, veneers, and boards; from construction products to joinery, from pallets and packaging to furniture.

An industry of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

The companies within the woodworking industries are mostly SMEs, with only a few large groups, typically in the softwood sawmill, panel and parquet sectors, operating on a European or global scale. The total number of businesses in the EU wood industry is estimated at 131,000 and in the EU furniture industry 136,000. The total number of employees in the EU 27 wood industry is estimated at 2.9 million. The turnover of European woodworking industries totalled EUR 165 billion EUR.

Production of sawn timber in Europe 2007-2010
Production of sawn timber in Europe 2007-2010

 
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