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Weyerhaeuser Co. poised for wave of hiring in Longview

2013-11-13T23:00:00Z 2013-12-05T05:55:24Z Weyerhaeuser Co. poised for wave of hiring in Longview Longview Daily News
November 13, 2013 11:00 pm

Weyerhaeuser Co. officials said Wednesday they are hiring new employees across all sectors of the company’s Longview operations to meet rising domestic and export demand and to replace an aging workforce.

At a community leaders’ forum at the Cowlitz Expo Center, company and timber industry leaders said nationwide housing starts are improving, Asian demand for logs remains strong and the recession appears to be in their rearview mirror.

By the end of this year, Weyerhaeuser says it will have hired about 150 new workers in Longview during 2013. Next year, officials said, the company expects to hire at least 30 new pulp mill workers and another half dozen on the docks. The company was unable Wednesday to specify the net gain in Longview employment.

Nationwide housing starts are expected to hit 900,000 this year, nearly triple the 2008 low point during the recession, said Cindy Mitchell of the Washington Forest Protection Association, a timber industry trade group, said during the meeting.

About 3.2 billion board feet of timber is expected to be harvested from Washington forests this year, a 30 percent jump from five years ago.

Mitchell said the increase is due to increased demand, which made Weyerhaeuser officials cheer.

“The industry is improving. It’s a pretty optimistic outlook for the lumber industry,” said Fred Kuhn, manager of Weyerhaeuser’s Longview sawmill.

Company officials also noted that the average age of employees is creeping into the 50s. They said they need to hire younger workers so they can learn from older workers before they retire.

“We’ve got to make sure we don’t have a gap. We’ve got some new people, and we’ve got to make sure they know how to take the reins,” said Tim Haynes, vice president of Weyerhaeuser’s liquid packaging business, said.

Weyerhaeuser has 1,317 employees in Cowlitz County. The company’s largest West Coast sawmill is in Longview, along with a pulp mill and a log export dock. Weyerhaeuser also co-owns the Norpac newsprint mill with Japanese company Nippon Paper Industries.

In the most recent quarter ending in September, Weyerhaeuser reported net earnings of $157 million, or 27 per share. The company reported $343 million in sales from its timberlands division, a $20 million increase from the previous quarter. The division included for the first time the 645,000 acres of Longview Timberlands property, which formerly were owned by Longview Fibre Co. and which Weyerhaeuser bought this summer for $2.65 billion.

Weyerhaeuser shares closed at $29.73 Wednesday, up about 2 percent over the day.

Erik Olson covers business and the economy for The Daily News. Reach him at 360-577-2510 or eolson@tdn.com.

Copyright 2014 Longview Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(5) Comments

  1. Mr Bastinado
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    Mr Bastinado - November 13, 2013 6:50 pm
    Hooray for Weyerhaeuser! Too bad that we can't be sending the Asian countries FINISHED lumber. Don't think that trade barriers still exist, think again.
  2. cowlitz88
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    cowlitz88 - November 14, 2013 8:48 am
    Hopefully hiring practices have changed. For years, the "good ol' boy" system was in place at Weyerhaeuser and Fibre. Meaning that if you didn't have blood relatives or friends already working in any of the mills, you did not have a chance.
  3. Quit Yer Bitchen
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    Quit Yer Bitchen - November 14, 2013 6:45 pm
    I hope the good o'l boy system is still in place so I can get a job.
  4. crowsfoot
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    crowsfoot - November 15, 2013 9:12 am
    People still want to work for Weyco, Just think- if the modern mentality against industry was in effect back when, we would never of had Weyco, Fibre, Reynolds, IP or in that case Longview would not have existed.
  5. DW111
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    DW111 - November 15, 2013 4:20 pm
    I'm not sure if anyone picked up on this, but isn't it illegal to discriminate against prospective employee hiring based on age. If I remember correctly, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects individuals 40 years and older from being discriminated against based on age. Now I get where Weyco is coming from wanting to hire younger workers to change the demographics of the company for sustainability. However, saying something like that to the press (basically admitting) they will discriminate based on age?? Maybe I should put in an app. and when they tell me I'm not hired, I'll lawyer up and sue the heck out of them. I gotta make a quick phone call.
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