State of the U.S. Textile Industry: Better Than Expected

By Jim Borneman, Editor In Chief

Each year, Textile World editors look forward to the National Council of Textile Organization (NCTO) Chairman’s state of the industry presentation from NCTO’s annual meeting (See “2022 State Of The U.S. Textile Industry,” TW, this issue).

It is not just a recap of NCTO’s activities, which are highlighted, but also a look at the U.S. textile industry’s performance, challenges and future outlook. It paints a solid picture of the U.S. industry featuring a collection of aggregated industry data, as well as opinion of industry members living those data.

The NCTO chairman for 2022-23 and presenter of this year’s address is David Poston, founder and president of Palmetto Synthetics LLC, Kingstree, S.C. (See “Palmetto Synthetics: Custom-Designed Fiber Solutions,” TW, May/June 2021).

Poston points to the positive performance of the U.S. textile industry and a “solid
year in 2021,” referencing “a rebound of remarkable proportions” with increases in overall shipments of U.S. manmade fibers, textiles and apparel; increased U.S. exports; and strong capital expenditures.

Poston stated: “Capital expenditures have remained strong. Investment in yarn, fabric, apparel and sewn product manufacturing in 2020 — the latest figure that we have — hit $1.85 billion. Since 2011, capital investment in U.S. yarn, fabric, apparel and sewn products manufacturing totals $20.2 billion.” Keep in mind those are billions with a “b” and up from the $1.58 billion invested in 2011.

In textile exports, roughly half are within the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement member countries with Mexico receiving $3.9 billion in U.S. fibers, yarns and fabrics; and Canada receiving $2.0 billion — respectfully the U.S. textile industry’s strongest export markets.

Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement members received $3.5 billion in U.S. exports of fibers, yarns and fabrics, with Honduras — the U.S. textile industry’s fourth strongest export partner of those products — taking in $1.3 billion.

Referring to the overall U.S. textile and apparel exports to the Western Hemisphere, Poston stated, “The bottom line is the fundamentals for the U.S. textile industry are sound and a testament to our industry’s resilience in the face of a perfect storm of supply chain disruptions, rising costs and a once-in-a-generation healthcare crisis.”

This one sentence seemingly captures the true “state” of the industry — an industry that always rises to the occasion, whether it’s for personal protective equipment, test kit swabs or any other demand seemingly out-of-the-blue.

“Strong underlying economic fundamentals and expansion in the U.S. and Western Hemisphere in 2021 created a sound business environment for our industry, and we remain optimistic that the business climate will continue this year,” Poston concluded.

In a personal note, Poston added, “I am optimistic about the future, knowing the strength of the industry, buoyed by its incredible trade and lobbying organization in Washington, will overcome emerging challenges and continue to carve out a niche as an important backbone in the U.S. economy and the Western Hemisphere.”

A powerful summation from an industry veteran who has seen it first-hand and continues to voice the optimism of the U.S. textile industry.

May/June 2022