Opinion: Apparel imports boost U.S. jobs

Key points:

“These four million U.S. workers – seen and unseen – help you get dressed every day. They design shoes and clothes, perform research and development, cut and sew, supervise production, handle customs and logistics, ensure product safety compliance, market and merchandise product, outfit our troops and work on the sales floor. In addition to these four million workers, there are countless U.S. transportation, distribution, warehousing, and logistics workers who depend on our industry for their jobs.”

“about 75 percent of the retail value of most clothing and footwear comes from non-manufacturing activities that happen entirely inside the United States.”
“Supply chain jobs and manufacturing jobs are equally valuable to the overall health of the U.S. economy. It is wrong to foster a public policy agenda that forces these two groups to compete against each other. ”

Written by Kevin Burke. president and chief executive officer of the American Apparel & Footwear Association.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/78779.html#ixzz21PNrJzHK

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

One thought on “Opinion: Apparel imports boost U.S. jobs”

  1. I have to be honest that this article made me look differently at the issue of having our Olympic uniforms manufactured overseas. At first I, like many, was outraged that such a symbolic uniform that is intended to represent our country was produced outside of the US. However after reading this article, I have a more positive perspective on the issue, and I have realized that maybe it’s not so bad that the production was outsourced.
    The main source of my initial anger was to think of how many jobs could have been created in the US had we been responsible for manufacturing these uniforms. I was surprised to read that the industry in the US is actually much larger and much stronger than I thought. I read, “In terms of our economic footprint, the apparel industry is larger than the U.S. video game industry, fast food industry, beverage industry and even the auto industry. In fact, our industry employs four million U.S. workers — three million more than the car manufacturers.” Here I was thinking that the industry was in dire need of any jobs it could get, I had no idea that the industry was still so large, and certainly not that it was larger than the auto industry!
    The article, as well as the information we’ve discussed in class, has helped me to view imports through different lenses. At one time I thought that imports had a purely negative effect on our economy. Now, I realize how important they are in sustaining our economy and the way of life we have come accustomed to. As the article states, “So when we wear clothes and shoes, we wear the realization that imports of these articles create and sustain jobs in the United States — in addition to creating consumer choice and affordable style.” This article helped to strengthen what I’ve learned in class, which is that importing apparel garments is helpful to our economy; it does not have the detrimental effect I had once assumed. While part of my still wishes the uniforms for such a monumental event were made in the USA, I can also see the positive impact it had on our economy.

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