The textile industry includes mills, factories, final product manufacturing and sales. Advances in technology are expected to force cuts in textile industry employment in the U.S. and completely change the way the textile industry does business. Not only will many of the jobs be outsourced to other countries, high technology will require special skills in production. Approximately one-third of all textile jobs are in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Nearly two-thirds of the jobs in this field are in production.
The textile mills are involved in the production of thread, yarn and fabric that are eventually turned into carpet, linens, towels, draperies, sheets, upholstery for furniture and automobiles and industrial products. Due to the variety of finished textiles, each factory specializes in one or more types.
Process Used in Textile Mills
The process used in textile mills involves spinning synthetic or natural fibers into a product for final domestic or industrial use. The yarn that is spun must be cleaned and given additional treatment for the final product. Employees who work in textiles are generally specialized, and they run automated looms designed to create fabric for apparel, upholstery, carpet or other items using textiles.
Textile Mill Workers
Workers in older textile mills had to endure dirty, noisy buildings filled with airborne fibers. However, modern facilities are much cleaner, although conditions may vary from one factory or mill to another. Government regulations require protective clothing, masks, ear plugs and protective shoes or boots. There are still health concerns due to repetitive motion, sitting or standing for long periods of time and heavy machinery that can be hazardous if used improperly.
Textile Industry Jobs
A variety of jobs exist in the textile industry. In addition to production, people are needed to transport materials and to provide administration, repair and management in plants and sales. Most companies hire in-house quality assurance people. Other textile-related positions include engineers, fashion designers, sewing machine operators and pressers. Apparel is the most difficult to automate due to the variety of seams and structure of the garments, so it remains a labor-intensive niche in the textile industry.
Future of the Textile Industry
Due to the laborious nature of the textile industry, technology is continuously being developed for efficiency. This is creating jobs for highly skilled workers. The lower level jobs are being outsourced to countries where workers receive lower wages. To maintain a competitive edge, many textile companies are merging for more efficient production. The U.S. leads the world in discovering new textiles, thus creating more positions for more technologically advanced and skilled workers.