NUNEZ, GA. — Hurt by the collapsing housing market, the timber industry in Georgia is showing signs of a potential rebound.
The state’s $15 billion timber industry was punished during the Great Recession. Forestry industry payrolls peaked at nearly 68,000 before the housing bust, fell to 43,425 afterward then slowly started to rise.
Some Georgia mills closed and others, such as the Interfor saw mill in Nunez, cut back their hours. Workers there are still on reduced schedules.
But Interfor, based in Canada, is looking to invest. It plans to spend $1.8 million on a new kiln at the Nunez plant and $2.8 million at a plant in Baxley. It is buying a plant in Thomaston and plans to add a second shift there.
The housing market is improving, which gradually boosts demand for wood. In metro Atlanta, the number of permits for single-family homes this year is modest, around 11,200, according to Metrostudy. That is far below the peak in 2005, but it is more than twice the low in 2009.
Ranger killed in mishap identified
ATLANTA — The Army Ranger killed in an apparent parachuting mishap was a 21-year-old veteran from Massachusetts who recently returned from Afghanistan, officials said Saturday.
Pfc. Christopher P. Dona was found dead Thursday with parachute cords and canvas straps from a harness wrapped around his neck after a training jump at Fort Stewart in southeast Georgia. It was not immediately clear what caused the fatality.
An Army spokesman said Dona’s parachute seemed to work normally during the jump. When he landed, wind filled the parachute’s canopy, dragging Dona about 350 feet along the ground. Dona was unconscious by the time soldiers reached him.