Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Textile mills are coming back in the South, with mechanization and non-woven fabrics

Textile mills are making a comeback in the mostly rural South. About 650 mills closed nationally between 1997 to 2009, and many of the jobs were shipped overseas where it was cheaper to produce products. In recent years, the industry has returned to the U.S., providing fewer but higher paying jobs in areas that desperately need an economic boost. The jobs are fewer due to mechanization, with 200,000 jobs lost to it in the last decade, but the pay is higher because workers need to be more tech-savvy, Marsha Mercer reports for Stateline. The average salary for U.S. textile workers is $37,900; for all manufacturing workers it is $60,496. In 2012, the textile industry employed 233,000 workers and generated $54 billion in shipments.

Southern states are reaping the benefits of the return to the U.S., with companies from Brazil, Canada, China, Dubai, Great Britain, India, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Switzerland and the U.S. announcing plans to open or expand textile plants in 2013 in Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, Mercer writes. A. Blanton Godfrey, dean of the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University, told Mercer, “Textiles manufacturing—yarn, fabric, woven and nonwoven—is still here and growing. We’re selling cotton yarn cheaper than the Chinese.” (Stateline chart)

"Another change in the industry is the growth of non-wovens, which are fiber-based products made of fabric that’s compressed, heated or tangled, like felt," Mercer reports. "Diapers and facial wipes, mops, medical scrubs and all kinds of filters are nonwovens. In the last decade, North Carolina has gained 1,945 jobs making nonwoven products and $719 million in nonwoven factory investment."

More than a third of the jobs gained in 2012 were in North Carolina and Georgia, and the two states have campaigned hard to bring more. In Georgia in 2013, "Five floor-covering manufacturing companies announced expansions that will add 3,550 jobs to the 22,382 existing carpet- and rug-manufacturing jobs and an $815 million in investment," Mercer writes. "In North Carolina, nine textile firms announced plans in 2013 to build or expand plants in the state, creating 993 jobs and investing $381 million." South Carolina is also getting a $218 million, 230,000-square-foot yarn factory that will create 501 jobs. (Read more)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, California used a lot of illegal immigrants and there is some usage by Mexican Mafia types that contract out to home sewers according to my information but more automation means less of the illegal immigrant textiles like in California. La was the textile capital of the use during the 1990's and early 2,000's because of use of illegal immigrants.