Pulp and paper: employment and social issues
Since 2000, employment in the pulp, paper and paper products industry has steadily declined, falling by 15% between 2000 and 2008.
Employment in 2008 was 2% lower than in 2007, which is in line with the situation in previous years. Most of those employed in the pulp, paper and paper products industry are medium- to low-skilled workers. High-skilled workers are estimated to represent less than 20% of the employed workforce.
Geographical markets for pulp, paper and converted products are determined by their bulk/price ratio. Thus, even high-value pulps may be shipped globally in large batches. Paper reels may also travel internationally, but cut paper and converted products - especially very bulky packaging and lower value household and sanitary goods - are normally produced and distributed on a regional or even local basis.
Traditionally, paper merchants have handled the matching of production output with the needs of different customers. Whilst this remains the case for many stationery and specialist products, cut forms of commodity papers are increasingly being sold directly from the bigger firms formed by recent mergers.