Paper Industry

A Look at the United State's Paper Industry

Paper rolls in mill floorThe pulp and paper industry is largely dominated by the United States, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Japan, Australasia, and Latin America. In addition to being one of the dominating forces in the industry, the United States also consumes more paper than any other country in the world. In fact, during the time period from 1990 to 2002 alone, the consumption of paper within the United States rose from 84.9 million tons to 97.3 million tons..

The Booming Economy

All of this paper use and consumption in the United States is certainly important to the economy. In 2001, pulp mills employed 7,218 people for a total payroll of $414,452,000. Paperboard mills employed 48,773 people for a total payroll of $2,601,324,000 and paper mills employed an amazing 114,670 for a total payroll of $6,162,914,000. Throw in the total cost of materials for these three areas of paper manufacturing, and it is an additional $34,870,991,000 being thrown into the economy and another $71,987,278,000 in shipment costs.

Dominating United States Paper Industry Companies

There are a number of companies vying for a piece of the paper products industry. In 2002, the top five companies in terms of net sales were: International Paper, Georgia-Pacific Corp., Weyerhaeuser, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, and Procter & Gamble Co.

International Paper

International Paper is the world's largest pulp and paper company. In addition, it is the largest private land owner of United State's timberland. Employing approximately 83,000 people, International Paper is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. The company was originally formed in 1898 as the result of a merger of 17 northeastern pulp and paper mills. As a result, it grew in both the United States and internationally.

International Paper has gone on to acquire several other pulp and paper mills, including HammerMill Paper Company in 1986 and Masonite Corporation in 1988. It also acquired the German company of Zanders Feinpapiere AG and the French company of Aussedet Rey in 1989.

Georgia-Pacific Corp.

Georgia- Pacific Corp. is based in Atlanta, Georgia and, with approximately 61,000 employees, is the second largest pulp and paper company in the world. Founded in 1927 as the Georgia Hardwood Lumber Co., Georgia-Pacific Corp. gradually expanded over the years until it changed its name to its current name in 1956. Prior to 1957, the company focused primarily on lumber mills and sawmills. At this time, it expanded to the pulp and paper business and built a kraft pulp and linerboard mill in Toledo, Oregon. It also acquired Great Northern Nekoosa Corp. in 1990 and Fort James Corp. in 2000. The company was later purchased in 2005 by Koch Industries.


Weyerhaeuser is a multinational pulp and paper corporation employing 55,200 people in 18 different countries. Based in Federal Way, Washington, it is the third largest company of its kind in the world and maintains operations in Australia, Canada, China, France, Ireland, Mexico, and Uruguay in addition to within the United States. It is the largest private owner of softwood timberland in the word, with a total of 38 million acres spread through five different countries. In addition, it is the third largest owner of United States timberwood.

Kimberly-Clark Corporation

Kimberly-Clark Corporation produces paper-based products, including the brand names of "Kotex" feminine hygiene products, "Kleenex" facial tissue, "Wypall" utility wipes, "Cottonelle" toilet paper, "Huggies" disposable diapers, and "Kim Wipes" cleaning wipes. The company is based in Dallas, Texas and employs approximately 63,900 workers.

Procter & Gamble Co.

Procter & Gamble Co. is a global corporation that is based in Cincinnati, Ohio. It manufactures a wide range of consumer products and employs 106,000 people.

The paper industry is a larger juggernaut in the business world than many people fully realize. Yet, it is little wonder this is the case when one considers the vast amount of products and goods that utilize paper products in one way or another.