Changes in global economic, social, and political environments are having major impacts on the textile industry. Manufacturing technology is changing. Consumer trends are changing. There is a rapidly growing middle class and an increasing cost of doing business in China — once the world’s cheapest country in which to manufacture textiles and apparel. The speed-to-market of products has never been more important. Proposed policy changes and U.S. border tariffs are making companies consider shifting production capacity to the United States. For these reasons, the United States is finally seeing a resurgence in the textile industry.

Background on Textile Industry Exodus

From 1994 to 2005, the United States lost more than 900,000 textile and apparel jobs to offshoring. Since the 1960s, low wages and new industrial production capacity in countries such as China, India, and Brazil made textile production in the United States a losing proposition. Most U.S. textile companies either shutdown or moved abroad, and it seemed as though the U.S. textile industry would never make a comeback. This hit the U.S. Southeast particularly hard. As the Great Recession loomed, the only evidence of the once thriving industry were the old derelict factories — tall smokestacks, short ceiling heights, and creeping kudzu vines swallowing what was left of the buildings. Full Article