The $75 billion North American wood products industry faces serious to major impacts from the corona virus outbreak, but surprisingly remains largely optimistic about a recovery.

That’s part of the findings of a new survey of the industry which paints a vivid picture of what woodworking businesses face and how they are dealing with the crisis, including how they are helping health workers cope.

Nearly three quarters of respondents say the virus outbreak is already having a serious to major impact on their operations. About one quarter of respondents (23.7 percent) said the outbreak is having only a minor impact on their business.

Some 69 percent of respondents said the outbreak has resulted in disrupted schedules. More than half (55.1 percent) said they already face a loss of business. And nearly half (46.8 percent) said they are dealing with disruptions in their supply chain.

Despite those issues, the industry generally has a positive outlook. Almost two-thirds (62.6 percent) see a significant impact short term, but they expect to recover long term. Fewer than 30 percent (28.5 percent) see major negative. However, 6.8 percent see major, permanent negative impacts, and 2.8 percent said they are actually already considering a permanent business shutdown.

Other findings in the survey include:

  • 32 percent already have instituted layoffs.
  • More than a third (34.3 percent) have reduced their work hours.
  • 47.2 percent report their state has agreed with Homeland Security guidelines and declared them essential, but more than 16 percent said their state has not gone along with that.
  • Nearly 17 percent said they contributed excess N95 masks and/or nitrile gloves to supply local healthcare workers. Almost 3 percent are actually re-purposing manufacturing in their businesses to make healthcare products such as masks and face shields.

The survey was conducted online on a sample size of 42, generating 562 completed responses, for a margin of error of 3.447 percent with a 90 percent confidence level.

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