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The EU Bioeconomy: Supporting an Employment Shift Downstream in the Wood-Based Value Chains?

Nicolas Robert (), Ragnar Jonsson (), Rafał Chudy () and Andrea Camia ()
Additional contact information
Nicolas Robert: European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Via E. Fermi, 2749, I-21027 Ispra, Italy
Ragnar Jonsson: European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Via E. Fermi, 2749, I-21027 Ispra, Italy
Rafał Chudy: Formerly European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Via E. Fermi, 2749, I-21027 Ispra, Italy
Andrea Camia: European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Via E. Fermi, 2749, I-21027 Ispra, Italy

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 3, 1-14

Abstract: Monitoring employment in the European wood-based bioeconomy requires reliable, consistent, and comparable statistics across subsectors and over time. Statistics concerning employment in wood-based industries—the main component of the forest-based bioeconomy—must be processed carefully to cope with differences in definitions and estimation methods. In addition, specific methods must be applied to estimate wood-based employment in sectors including also non-wood activities. In this study, we first delineate the boundaries of the wood-based bioeconomy, and then create a harmonised time series on employment for the identified sectors. Finally, we estimate the share of wood-based employment along the value chain in all sectors using wood. According to the results, forestry and extended wood-based value chains employed 4.5 million people in the EU-28 in 2018. Employment in wood-based value chains decreased between 2008 and 2013 in the aftermaths of the financial crisis. Continuously decreasing employment—most apparent in the manufacture of solid wood products and pulp and paper—results from increasing productivity and a decreasing demand for graphic paper. Further, most of the wood-based employment in the EU takes place in downstream parts of value chains, although the weight of the primary sector is still high in some Eastern European countries.

Keywords: bioeconomy; forest sector; employment; labour force; European Union (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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