4 MIN. READ
The U.S. textile mill products industry is a vital part of the nation's economy, providing jobs to millions of Americans and exporting products around the world. The industry produces fabrics, yarns, threads, and other products that are used in apparel, home furnishings, industrial and medical applications. In this blog post, we will explore some of the key facts and statistics that illustrate the size, scope and impact of this industry on the U.S. and also uncover some sales opportunities for those looking to do business with this robust industry.
US textile mill products include anything made with textiles except apparel. Usually, these industries cut and sew their products. Examples include towels, sheets, and pillowcases.
The industry employs a large and varied workforce, including:
● Supervisors and managers.
● Machine operators and tenders.
Textile machines knit, weave, twist, and draw, creating an array of fabric textures.
As with many other industries, the pandemic restricted the growth of textiles. However, forecasts predict solid post-pandemic growth. Nylon, a widely used synthetic fiber, will experience considerable demand. You can expect chemically resistant fibers such as polyethylene and polypropylene to also spur US textile industry growth.
Nationwide, 2,207 textile mill companies provide 151,335 jobs. This is a slight decrease of 0.29% from the preceding year. The industry reports average yearly sales of $64 billion. More companies in this industry are woman-owned compared to manufacturing as a whole, 3% versus 2%, respectively. At 1%, minority ownership is in line with manufacturing as a whole.
This industry imports a considerable proportion of raw materials, 31%, compared to 11% for total manufacturing. International distribution, however, is where the textile mill products shine. They distribute 47% of their products internationally, compared to 29% for all US manufacturing. Public ownership of textile mill product manufacturers stands at 7%, versus 5% for total US manufacturing.
The largest number, 53%, of textile mill product companies locate their facilities in the South. The Northeast comes in a distant second at 23%. The West and Midwest bring up the rear at 12% each. However, with over 150,000 total companies, textile mill products offer sales opportunities across the country.
Related: Top 10 Textile Mills in the U.S.
Textile mill products form an umbrella for six subindustries, turning out an assortment of different products for different markets.
Broadwoven Fabric Mills
This subindustry weaves fabric that is more than 12 inches wide. It also makes wide felt. Products include bedspreads, draperies, jute bags, tablecloths, towels, and carpet liners, but not carpets. The products serve many disparate consumer and industrial needs. This wide range may lend this subindustry a certain resilience in changing markets, making it a viable target for doing business.
Growth in knitting mills peaked in 2020, rose a little in 2022, and then declined again. This downturn is reflected in the slight drop in jobs in the industry in general. Knitting mills need a large number of workers to operate. Males make considerably more than females in comparable positions in these facilities. Overall, earnings tend to be low compared with other industries. This may contribute to labor problems, making this subindustry a good prospect for a staffing company.
Textile finishing encompasses the post-dying processes that give fabrics a nicer ‘touch.” Finishers use both chemical and mechanical methods. Chemicals used include bleach and alkali solutions. Finishers also employ mechanical napping and shearing. If you sell the chemicals or equipment for any of these processes, textile finishing could expand your sales base.
Carpets and Rugs
Traditionally, carpet manufacturers aimed for either high-end or low-end use. This strategy is changing. The mills develop products for buyers looking for a midpoint. Sales of these carpets are rising. Some of the new technology involves yarn-dyed artificial fibers like PET. These innovations may open up new markets at carpet mills. Mohawk is a large mill worth checking out.
Yarn and Thread Mills
Yarn mills are riding the wave of demand for synthetic fibers. Increasing competition from overseas is feeding a rush toward innovation. These mills are also looking at changing locations to areas with lower labor costs and less stringent regulations. That movement may affect their viability as prospects.
Miscellaneous Textile Goods
This subindustry includes the production of:
● Coated fabrics.
● Batts and batting (except for nonwoven fabrics).
● Fishing nets.
● Carpet cutting and binding.
● Sleeping bags.
● Cloth diapers.
● Fire hoses.
● Dust clothes.
This is another case of a subindustry diverse enough to muddle through specific drops in demand. Some products, such as hoses, dust clothes, and weather stripping, use purchased stock. If you sell the raw materials, you may find their manufacturers worth pitching.
Cotton-based products are in high demand, especially for international distribution, as are the raw materials to make them. Wool is also a growth product for use in odor absorption and noise abatement. The demand for technical-use textiles is growing at 7.7%. You will find them used in construction, transportation, medical, and protective applications.
The industrial textile and home furnishings textile sectors are both seeing domestic growth. Synthetic and cellulose fibers come into play for filtration applications.
One of the most interesting industry trends is “smart” textiles. These use optical fibers and metals to interact with what’s around them. They can detect stimuli such as heat, chemicals, and electrical sources. This market is expected to grow. If you deal in these fibers or metals, textiles are an expanding market.
Sustainability is a strong trend across many industries, including textiles. Consumer demand is compelling many companies to develop more environmentally friendly products and materials. Textile mills present opportunities to sell sustainability-promoting goods and services.
The textile recycling market is growing in line with the push toward sustainability. It is projected to be worth $4.8 billion in 2023 and $6.6 billion by 2033. Better technologies are developing to separate fibers, and textile manufacturers are beginning to demand recycled yarn. Startups in textile recycling may have a customer base adjacent to textile milling. The mills also aim for technology that will allow them to go straight from recycled fibers to create new fabrics.
Sustainability and technology are twin drivers of the evolution of textile milling. Monitoring and riding these developments can be your entry into the textile milling field.
While textile mills offer many opportunities, you must make the right contacts to exploit them. IndustrySelect can help. It provides comprehensive company profiles with the names, positions, and email addresses of prospects empowered to deal. Try a free demo today and start spinning out sales.