Outlook for the U.S. Textile Industry in 2015

In its annual industry analysis report, the Textile World (TW) presents another optimistic outlook for the U.S. textile industry in year 2015.

First, the U.S. textile industry is predicted to be in a good shape economically this year. For example, according to TW, shipment of textile mills (NAICS 313 &314) is expected to increase 3-4 percent in 2015 from last year. Value of apparel manufacturing (NAICS 315) may also increase 5 percent. Additionally, market demand for basic mill products (fibers and fabrics), nonwoven fabrics and fabrics designed for activewear could be particularly strong this year.

Second, the U.S. textile industry will continue to bring back “made in USA” through capitalization. As observed by TW, new plant and equipment spending is widespread in the U.S. textile industry in recent years, covering activities ranging from fibers, spinning, nonwovens, composites, technical fibers to textile chemical. TW further estimates that some 2.2 percent of mill shipment dollars will be spent on new investment in 2015, a level much higher than a few years ago.

Third, trade deficit in the U.S. textile industry is gradually shrinking. On one hand, TW estimates that due to China’s decreasing market share, imports of T&A to the United States will down 1 percent in 2015. This trend may continue in the years ahead. On the other hand, TW estimates that the U.S. textile exports will continue to grow for the straight 5th year in 2015. However, TW doesn’t believe textile and apparel manufacturing will have any big near-term shift back to the U.S, nor the total employment in the industry (because increased production is to be made by machines).

Fourth, sustainability and supply chain management will attract even more attention by the industry in 2015. As mentioned by the TW report, consumers nowadays have become more aware of the environmental impact of textile and apparel manufacturing. This pushes companies to make more efforts to address issues such as toxins, waste and the amount of water used for production. On the other hand, supply chain management has started to play even more important roles in controlling cost and increasing profit. For example, quoted by TW, performance of supply chain management may result in 10 percentage point differences in profit margin in the textile industry nowadays.

Fifth, trade policy will continue to have a substantial impact on the the U.S. textile industry.  2015 could be a big year for trade policy in the United States. Things that are on the top watch list in 2015 include details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiation and whether the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill can be passed by Congress.

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Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

5 thoughts on “Outlook for the U.S. Textile Industry in 2015”

  1. Although the Textile and Apparel Industry is shrinking employment wise, there is still much room for careers in the business end such as the design, research and development, advertising and the retail sectors. This post discusses how there is a great prediction of a successful T & A sector for 2015 and upcoming years There is much discussion on bringing back ‘Made in the USA’

    1. (continued) production, as well as bringing forth attention to sustainability in business practices, apparel, as well as sustainable consumer behavior. Because of increased efforts in globalization, the supply chain management sector is also predicted to control cost and increase an overall profit. I think these predictions are accurate into where the industry is moving to as well as creating awareness not just in the T&A Industry but to other industries as well as the ultimate consumers and their wants and needs, which sufficiently controls this industry.

  2. One of the best facts is reading that the made in the us trend is coming back because it could lead to a growth in the employment for the industry. But then it’s really interesting to read that there won’t be a growth because of the technology that is taking the place of people in the manufacturing part of the US textile industry. It is good to see that the growth of exports from the US will continue to grow for the 5th year in a row and this is good for the country and the US T&A industry. For the employment part of the industry I agree with the above comments in regards to the fact that there is so much more research and development employment opportunities in the US.

  3. It is exciting to see that the textile industry will be growing in 2015. I think so often that people see declining jobs and assume that all jobs are being shipped abroad. But after reading this blog comment, and the discussions in class, we see that the industry is growing. It is good news to see that the trade deficit is shrinking, because I know that it seems like the United States is importing most of its good. It is also interesting to see that “made in USA” is coming back. It has been a popular topic, and I think many consumers are caring more and more about where their goods come from. And many times they prefer products made in the United States. Overall I think that the United States textile and Apparel industry is looking good for the future.

  4. I think it’s great to know we still have a foot in manufacturing but I also think although there is an increase in manufacturing it doesn’t mean more jobs will be available because we are so technology driven at this point that having a physical employee isn’t needed anymore. The industry is growing once again but not in manufacturing but rather in the supply chain; the opportunity maker of the future. I think it will be interesting to see what we do with this growth in the supply chain globally.

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