Survey: U.S. Paper, Paperboard Capacity Falls

U.S. paper and paperboard capacity fell 0.8 percent last year as 41 manufacturing facilities were permanently closed, the American Forest & Paper Association said Monday.

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. paper and paperboard capacity fell 0.8 percent last year as 41 manufacturing facilities were permanently closed, the American Forest & Paper Association said Monday.

The group, which put domestic capacity at 96.3 million tons, also said it expects total paper and paperboard capacity to decline 1.8 percent this year and then expand 0.3 percent in each of the subsequent two years.

In 2007, 38 manufacturing facilities were permanently closed, AF&PA said.

In addition to last year's permanent closures, additional facilities in 2008 were idled, meaning they could be restarted.

The survey's results underscore the continued shrinkage in the industry, a sector whose capacity has fallen 7.3 percent since 2000.

AF&PA President, Donna Harman, speaking Monday at the start of the trade group's annual "Paper Week" meeting in New York, said the industry has been hit "with a double whammy," the housing market collapsing and credit markets drying up.

The group's survey results and forecast reflect a survey to which more than 90 percent of the U.S. sector responded.

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