August 1997

Employment trends in textiles and apparel, 1973-2005

Mark Mittelhauser

This article examines employment trends in the textile and apparel industries, reviewing the likely causes of both the recent historical and projected declines, their varied effects across occupational groups, and the response American producers have developed to adapt to rapidly changing economic realities. It provides an outlook of how the industry and its workers will fare in an uncertain and rapidly changing future. It projects that employment declines in the textile and apparel industries are expected to continue, but they will still provide more than 1.3 million jobs in 2005, or nearly 8 percent of all projected jobs in manufacturing.

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