The US Textile and Apparel Industry Continues Gradual Growth

After a significant decline, the US textile and apparel industry has been gradually bouncing back. The total value of textile and apparel shipments in the US reached an estimated $74.4 billion in 2016, with the country remaining one of the world’s largest manufacturers of textile products, including textile raw materials, yarns, fabrics, apparel and domestic furnishings.


According to the statistics from the National Council of Textile Organization (NCTO), the $74.4 billion textile and apparel shipments in 2016 were an 11% increase from 2009. Yarns and fabrics accounted for $30.3 billion in 2016, representing almost half of the shipments sent out, while carpet, home furnishings fabrics and other non-apparel sewn products made up $24 billion in revenue. Apparel products totaled $12.7 billion last year.


Currently, the textile and apparel industry in the US employs 565,000 workers. During 2016, 113,900 workers were employed in the yarns and fabrics sector; 115,000 in home furnishings, carpet, and other non-apparel sewn products; 131,300 in apparel manufacturing; 25,700 in man-made fibres; 126,600 in cotton farming and related industries; and 52,500 in wool growing and related industries. NCTO also points out that, like most other U.S. manufacturing sectors, fluctuations in employment figures are generally due to normal business cycles, new investment, or productivity increase.


When it comes to textile and apparel exports, the total US exports of fiber, yarns, fabrics, made-ups, and apparel were $26.3 billion in 2016. Shipments to countries part of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and The Dominican Republic-Central America FTA (CAFTA-DR) accounted for 56% of all US textile supply chain exports.


The breakdown of exports by sector is as follows:

$4.0 billion – cotton and wool
$4.5 billion – yarns
$8.6 billion – fabrics
$3.6 billion – home furnishings, carpet, and other non-apparel sewn products
$5.6 billion – apparel


The United States is especially well-positioned globally in the fiber, yarn, fabric, and non-apparel sewn products markets, making it the world’s 3rd largest exporter of these products. As the US continues to be one of the world’s largest net textile exporters and net apparel importers, its trade surplus in textiles significantly dropped to $68 million in 2016 from $347 million in 2015. However, the US trade deficit in apparel products reached $80,175.4 billion in 2016, which was slightly lower than 2015’s $80,631.1 billion.


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