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Textiles: Background and Overview
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In the early 17th century of colonial America, textiles were primarily manufactured in New England homes. Flax and wool were the major fibers used; however, cotton, grown primarily on Southern plantations, became increasingly important. Through the 18th century, factories were established that processed textiles with manual labor. By the 19th century, the first mill in America to use power looms began operations in Lowell, Mass. It was the first time that all textile manufacturing operations were being done under the same roof.

The 20th century has seen the development of the first manmade fibers (rayon was first produced in 1910). Although natural fibers (wool, cotton, silk and linen) are still used extensively today, they are more expensive and are often mixed with manmade fibers such as polyester, the most widely used synthetic fiber. In addition, segments of the textile industry have become highly automated and computerized.

The textile industry is characterized by product specialization. Most mills only engage in one process or raw material. For example, a mill may be engaged in either broadloom weaving of cotton or broadloom weaving of wool. Similarly, many mills specialize in either spinning or weaving operations, although larger integrated mills may combine the two operations. These large mills normally do not conduct their own dyeing and finishing operations. Weaving, spinning, and knitting mills usually send out their fabrics to one of the approximately 500 dyeing and finishing plants in the United States.

Table 1 provides examples of the variety of textile products and end uses.

Table 1

Application Example products
Apparel Clothing (woven and knits), hosiery, belts
Defense Several products, e.g., material for flags, lightweight fibers for aircraft wings, tents, parachutes, bullet-proof vests, helmets.
Space exploration Textile-based heat shields, space suits
Medical Artificial arteries and kidneys, bandages
Industrial Liners for highways and reservoirs, belts, gaskets, hoses, gloves
High-tech uses Communications satellites (fabrics in panels, circuit boards, receivers and senders), fabric roofs, printed circuit boards in computers and other electronic equipment
Automobiles and airplanes Tire cord, upholstery, roof liners, hoses
Home furnishings Carpets, sheets, towels, draperies, upholstery
Others Firefighter uniforms, dental floss, food packaging, luggage, insulation, and other uses
Source: Preliminary Industry Characterization: Fabric Printing, Coating and Dyeing , page II-9

Textile Sector Industrial Classification

The majority of textile manufacturing operations have historically been classified under the 1987 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system codes 2200 and 2300. Table 2 provides a detailed description of industry classifications within SIC 2200.

Table 2

3-digit SIC code 4-digit SIC Code
SIC 221- Broadwoven Fabric Mills, Cotton SIC 2211 - Broadwoven Fabric Mills, Cotton
SIC 222- Broadwoven Fabric Mills, Manmade Fiber and Silk SIC 2221 - Broadwoven Fabric Mills, Manmade Fiber and Silk
SIC 223- Broadwoven Fabric Mills, Wool (Including dyeing and finishing) SIC 2231 - Broadwoven Fabric Mills, Wool (including dyeing and finishing)
SIC 224- Narrow Fabric Mills: Cotton, Wool, Silk and Manmade Fiber SIC 2241 - Narrow Fabric Mills: Cotton, Wool, Silk and Manmade Fiber
SIC 225- Knitting Mills SIC 2251 - Women?s Full-Length and Knee-Length Hosiery, except socks
SIC 2252 - Hosiery, not elsewhere classified
SIC 2253 - Knit Outwear Mills
SIC 2254 - Knit Underwear and Nightwear Mills
SIC 2257 - Weft Knit Fabric Mills
SIC 2258 - Lace and Warp Knit Fabric Mills
SIC 2259 - Knitting Mills, not elsewhere classified
SIC 226- Dyeing and Finishing Textiles, except wool fabrics and knit goods SIC 2261 - Finishers of Broadwoven Fabrics of Cotton
SIC 2262 - Finishers of Broadwoven Fabrics of Manmade Fiber and Silk
SIC 2269 - Finishers of Textiles, not elsewhere classified
SIC 227 - Carpets and Rugs SIC 2273 - Carpets and Rugs
SIC 228- Yarn and Thread Mills SIC 2281 - Yarn Spinning Mills
SIC 2282 - Yarn Texturizing, Throwing, Twisting and Winding Mills
SIC 2284 - Thread Mills
SIC 229- Miscellaneous Textile Goods SIC 2295 - Coated Fabrics, not rubberized
SIC 2296 - Tire Cord and Fabrics
SIC 2298 - Cordage and Twine
SIC 2299 - Textile Goods, not elsewhere classified
Source: EPA Office of Compliance Sector Notebook Project: Profile of the Textile Industry , page 5

In 1997, the U.S. Department of Commerce switched from the 1987 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Both NAICS and SIC categorize establishments by the principal activity in which they are engaged.

NAICS, developed in cooperation with Canada and Mexico, classifies North America's economic activities at 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-digit levels of detail, and the U.S. version of NAICS further defines industries to a sixth digit. The Economic Census takes advantage of this hierarchy to publish data at successive levels of detail. Taken from U.S. Census Bureau Guide to the 1997 Economic Census.

Within the NAIC system, textile related operations are covered in the codes 313, 314, and 315. These codes include operations previously included in both 2200 and 2300 as well as a few additional selected SIC codes.

Textiles - Economics and Demographics

The textile industry has historically been one of the largest, most diverse, and most dynamic segments in the U.S. manufacturing sector. Based on the 1997 Economic Census, SIC code 2200 represented 6,155 establishments with in excess of $82 billion in value of shipments and 550,000 employees, while SIC code 2300 represented 23,411 establishments with in excess of $81 billion in value of shipments and 800,000 employees.

View economic data for 1992 and 1997 economic census data within SIC 2200 and 2300 in the 1997 Economic Census: Comparative Statistics for United States 1987 SIC Basis: Manufacturing or as NAIC codes 313, 314, and 315 in the 1997 Economic Census: Bridge Between NAICS and SIC Menu of NAICS Sectors.

While the textile industry has operations impacting all 50 states, 75 percent of all U.S. textiles and apparel is produced in eight southeastern states. A breakdown of employment for the major textile producing states is provided in Table 3.

Table 3

Textile Employment In Major Producing States 2000
Total U.S. Employees: 541,000
NC 143,700 MASS 13,100
GA 102,200 NY 11,800
SC 68,900 NJ 8,500
ALA 37,700 RI 6,400
CALIF 27,100 KY 4,200
VA 26,300 MISS 4,200
PA 18,600 FLA 3,700
TENN 15,600 MAINE 3,100
Source:Quick Facts About U.S. Textiles and Textile Complex Employment And Gross Product By State

Table 4 shows the major states for employment and Table 5 shows the percentage of facilities for a particular employment range within the SIC 2200 (data in both Table 4 and 5 is based on 1992-1995 economic census data).

Table 4

3-digit SIC code Major states (based on employment)

Approximate % of employment in 3-digit SIC code category, attributable to major states

SIC 221 NC, SC, GA, ALA 87
SIC 222 SC, NC, GA, VA 79
SIC 223 VA, GA, MAINE, NC 69
SIC 224 NC, PA, RI, SC 52
SIC 225 NC, KY, LA, NY, GA, PENN, TX, NJ 40
SIC 226 NC, SC, GA, NJ 63
SIC 227 GA 64
SIC 228 NC, GA, SC 70
Source: EPA Office of Compliance Sector Notebook Project: Profile of the Textile Industry , page 9

Table 5

Industry SIC Code Percentage of  Establishments with 0-19 Employees Percentage of Establishments with 20-49 Employees Percentage of Establishments with 50-99 Employees Percentage of Establishments with 100 or More Employees
SIC 221 64 4 4 28
SIC 222 40 8 6 46
SIC 223 45 22 9 23
SIC 224 49 14 14 22
SIC 225 44 21 14 21
SIC 226 32 22 15 31
SIC 227 53 12 9 26
SIC 228 24 11 13 52
SIC 229 58 18 11 12
Source: EPA Office of Compliance Sector Notebook Project: Profile of the Textile Industry , page 7


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Hub Last Updated: 3/11/2008