Wisconsin's paper industry has seen many changes over the past 150 years and has become a cornerstone of Wisconsin’s economy. Papermaking in Wisconsin began in Milwaukee on March 7, 1848. The paper was made of rags and used to publish the Milwaukee Sentinel & Gazette. Three months after the first papermaking began in Wisconsin, President Polk signed legislation to make Wisconsin a state.
Wisconsin’s paper industry has come a long way since that day in March of 1848. With the introduction of the Keller groundwood process, in 1872, the focus of papermaking shifted to the state’s forests; paper could now be made of wood pulp.
Today, Wisconsin’s papermaking industry employs more than 140,000 women and men and thousands of additional jobs are directly linked to Wisconsin’s paper industry. New technologies and industry advancements have allowed Wisconsin’s papermaking to more than double in the past thirty years, nearly quadrupling paper and paperboard production in that time.
For fifty years, Wisconsin has had boasting rights as America’s #1 papermaker!
As of 2006, the fifth largest industry sub-sector for Outagamie County is Paper Manufacturing, with an average employment of 5,373. This represents a drop of 217 employees from 2005, and an increase of 194 employees from the five years prior to 2006. The 2006 annual average wage for paper manufacturing in Outagamie County was $61,228.
-Source: WI DWD, Bureau of Workforce Training, January 2007.