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Economic and social factors have an important relationship to the production of timber and nontimber products in the Appalachian region. Areas with strong timber markets and working forests not only support ecosystem services such as clean water and wildlife habitat, but can also provide economic and social benefits through jobs in the forest industry.
The U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) produces data about sector employment, which can be useful in developing county-level information relevant to forest industry. The National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy has utilized ACS data, for example, to create a Forest Industry Jobs measurement (percent of total county employment). This can be used as an indicator of areas that have stronger or weaker job markets in the production of timber and nontimber forest products. Data covers the period from 2002 to 2011. The Cohesive Strategy has also utilized data to create a Forest Product Production measure—which gives an indication of the importance of forest-based manufacturing to local economies—at the county level.
The ACS is conducted every year to provide up-to-date information about the social and economic needs of communities in the United States. The ACS shows how people live, looking at education, housing, jobs, and more. This complements the U.S. Census, which is conducted once every 10 years to provide an official count of the U.S. population to Congress.
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