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Employment in US textiles down four per cent

Employment in the US textiles sector declined four per cent in 2017 from 2013. Reshoring has taken place in recent years, although on a modest scale. Total capital expenditures in plants and equipment for the textile sector increased 36 per cent from 2013 to 2016. Much of the new investment is by foreign firms, including new investments by Chinese and Indian firms, as well as by firms from Mexico, Canada, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

Firms are upgrading and modernizing their manufacturing processes and focusing their operations on different products. Employment in the apparel sector steadily declined during 2013-17, down 21 per cent. Labor productivity also declined during 2013–16.

Advantages of producing textiles in the United States include local and state incentives for investment, and the benefits afforded by free trade agreement preferences that encourage the use of US-produced inputs in downstream production in FTA partner countries, energy cost and the availability and reliability of high-quality cotton.

Advantages of producing apparel in the United States include improved lead times, better quality control, and more flexible production. The adoption of various automation and digital technologies to accelerate the process of product development improves the fit of the final product and reduces the need for skilled sewing operators.