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U.S. pulp and paper industry - statistics & facts

The United States is the second largest producer of paper and paperboard worldwide, following China. The U.S. paper industry employs over 50,000 people, although this is expected to decline in the coming years. The industry involves taking wood from forests or using existing paper products and creating pulp, which is then pressed and dried into paper.

In the United States, the leading forestry and paper companies include International Paper, Domtar, and Verso Paper Holdings. Domestic demand for paper is slowly falling, but exports of paper products remain strong, particularly to neighboring Canada and Mexico.

The production capacity of mechanical pulp has been replaced by chemical pulp. The projections of most products’ capacities are expected to remain stable in coming years, including newsprint paper, coated and uncoated writing paper, and folding boxboard. The value added by paper products manufacturing is nearly 57 billion U.S. dollars.

Given the price and environmental impact of forestry, paper recycling is a significant process. The U.S. paper and paperboard recovery rate was over 68 percent in 2018, a total recovery volume of over 50 billion tons of product. This includes the 3.4 billion tons in recovery of old newspaper. Much of this recovered paper and paperboard is exported or used for containerboard. This recycling effort is important for the industry as well as the environment, especially given the increase in tree cover loss over the past decade.

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Pulp and paper industry in the U.S.

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