Green industry large and growing
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[DEC. 7, 2004]
URBANA -- The Illinois
green industry -- a group of businesses, institutions and others who
produce, maintain or sell plant material -- is large and growing,
according to results from a University of Illinois follow-up survey
conducted in 2003.
"The total combined product and service
sector sales as well as end-user payrolls are estimated at $4.7
billion and represents plant product sales; landscape, lawn,
arboriculture and interiorscape service receipts; and end-user
payrolls paid to grounds and maintenance employees," said Gene
Campbell, survey director.
The U of I conducted a similar survey
in 1999 and found this total figure to be $3.9 billion, showing
growth of nearly 20 percent, or 5 percent annually over the past
"This steady growth rate occurred at a time when the general
economy experienced a recession and slower growth rates, which I
think is significant," he said.
Breaking down the figures more, product sector firms decreased in
numbers between 1999 and 2003 by about 1 percent, while service
sector firms increased by 13.8 percent. Overall, the number of
product and service sector firms increased by 5.2 percent to nearly
Total product and service sector sales increased by 21.8 percent
from 1999 to 2003 with an annual, compound rate of increase of 5.1
percent. Payroll increased by 17.6 percent at an annual, compound
rate of 4.1 percent. And work force increased by 7.2 percent for an
annual, compound rate of 2.3 percent.
Between 1999 and 2003, total end-user payroll increased by 9.5
percent at an annual, compound rate of growth of 2.3 percent. And
the total end-user work force increased by 0.8 percent for an
annual, compound rate of 0.2 percent.
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Combining all three sectors, the average payroll per employee
increased by 10.41 percent between 1999 and 2003.
"As measured by payroll, the largest green-industry employers
were landscape construction, nurseries and garden centers,
municipalities, and golf courses," Campbell said. "The biggest
green-industry sales receipts were florists, landscape construction,
and nurseries and garden centers."
Dave Bender of the Illinois Nurserymen's Association helped
secure the state grant to conduct the follow-up study, and he was
surprised by the growth numbers.
"The survey confirms that Illinois' green industry is growing,"
Bender said. "We were amazed by the figures, especially given 9/11
and the general economic sluggishness of the past few years. I think
the survey shows that the green industry provides some economic
stability to Illinois."
As a byproduct of developing the survey, "We have begun, as an
industry, to work more closely together," Bender said. "We're an
industry of many small associations each pursuing their own agenda,
but I think we have a lot in common. I hope and expect that we will
work together more in the future. And we plan to use the information
in Springfield and Washington, D.C., to open doors."
The survey was funded, in part, by the Illinois Department of
Agriculture, the University of Illinois and a coalition of
green-industry professional associations.
[University of Illinois news release]