Fabric Mills

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 685 fabric mills in the US transform yarn or fibers into fabric that is further manufactured into usable items, such as apparel, sheets, or towels. Major product categories include nonwoven fabrics, broadwoven fabrics, knit fabrics, and narrow fabrics. Almost half of US textile output is used for technical applications, such as conveyor belts and automotive floor coverings. About 40% of output goes towards home textiles and floor coverings. Apparel accounts for just over 10% of US textile output.

High Capital Requirements

The US fabric mill industry is highly capital-intensive and requires a significant investment in plants, property, and equipment.

Competition From Foreign Manufacturers

Overseas textile production has decimated the US fabric manufacturing industry.

Industry size & Structure

The average nonwoven fabric mill employs about 90 workers and generates $37 million annually; the average broadwoven mill about 57 workers and $14 million annually; the average knit fabric mill about 48 workers and $10 million annually; and the average narrow fabric mill about 34 workers and $5.8 million annually.

    • The fabric mill industry consists of about 685 companies that employ 43,100 workers and generate $13.2 billion annually.
    • The textile mill industry includes fiber, yarn, and thread mills; fabric mills; and textile and fabric finishing and coating mills. Fabric mills may be vertically integrated and perform operations within the textile supply chain in addition to fabric production.
    • The industry is concentrated; the top 50 companies account for 66% of industry revenue.
    • Large companies with fabric mill operations include Elevate Textiles (Burlington), Milleken, and Albany International. Large firms may have operations in foreign countries.
    • US textile production is primarily located in southeastern states and Pennsylvania. More than 20% of all fabric mill jobs were located in Georgia and North Carolina in 2021.
                              Industry Forecast
                              Fabric Mills Industry Growth
                              Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                              Recent Developments

                              Jul 12, 2024 - Sales, Prices Fall
                              • According to the latest data from the Census Bureau, sales at textile mills and textile product mills declined 24.6% in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023. Sales were down 7.7% from the previous quarter. Producer prices for fabric mills fell 1.3% in May 2024 compared to a year ago, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Even with the recent decrease, prices remain 20% higher than before the pandemic. Employment by fabric mills continued a downward trend, falling by 3.3% in May over the previous year. Labor costs decreased mid-way through the year. Wages for nonsupervisory employees at textile mills dropped 3.4% to $20.12 an hour in June, per the BLS.
                              • The home textiles market, a key market segment for fabric mills, is set to grow at a CAGR of 5.1% from 2024 to 2028, reaching $6.1 billion, according to Technavio. One factor contributing to industry growth is the rising demand for eco-friendly and sustainable products made from organic plant-based fibers, recycled materials, and materials free of pesticides, chemicals, and fertilizers. Decorative and functional pieces with a focus on comfort are in high demand, with microfiber, velvet, and shag gaining popularity. Technology is also driving new products such as heating and cooling products. Issues facing the industry include higher manufacturing costs due to rising prices of raw materials and competition from countries with lower labor costs, per the report.
                              • According to a report in Textile World, automation is a key differentiator for nonwoven textiles to keep the labor component of total cost very low. In the report, Benham Pourdeyhimi, executive director of The Nonwovens Institute, said that high speed, large volume, and full automation are required in nonwovens production to effectively compete in a global economy and offer competitive products. Unlike the traditional textile industry, the nonwoven segment has grown to provide a broad selection of engineered fiber and polymer-based products. Companies nationwide are devoting more resources toward automation. According to the International Federation of Robotics, manufacturing companies in the US have increased their installation of industrial robots by 12% in 2023 year over year.
                              • Consumer confidence levels fell in June 2024, after an uptick in May, according to data from The Conference Board. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index was 100.4 in June 2024 from 101.3 in May 2024. Dana Peterson, chief economist at The Conference Board, noted that confidence was the highest among those under age 35 and those in the income category of over $100,000. Plans for large appliance and smart phone purchases rose on a six-month basis, while plans for car purchases stalled.
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