The textiles industry is largely driven by the buying preferences of the consumer, as well as the vitality of the automotive industry and changing import/export tariffs. Cheaper labor overseas has chipped away U.S. textile manufacturers for decades, but the industry still accounted for 565,000 jobs (total supply chain) during 2016. U.S. exports of fiber, textiles and apparel totaled $26.3 billion the same year. The non-woven side of the industry primarily serves the furniture and automotive markets, both of which are highly influenced by market fluctuations and buyer tastes.
The U.S. textiles industry is divided into two segments: woven (clothing) and non-woven (automotive, furniture, carpet & rugs). Raw materials may be natural or synthetic, with machinery and equipment (M&E) geared toward both woven and non-woven products. Machines can be specialized for weaving, spinning, knitting; fabric seaming; tufting; label making; applique scaling; cloth measuring/cutting; and embroidery. Typical inventory can include rolls/swaths of woven and knitted fabrics; Lycra; linens; raw denim; blended fabrics; canvas; organic cotton; and more.