Apparel Industry Workers


Overview

Apparel Industry Workers

Introduction

Apparel industry workers produce, maintain, or repair clothing and other consumer products made from cloth, leather, or fur. The three basic processes of garment production are cutting, sewing, and pressing. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are approximately 15,900 textile, apparel, and furnishings workers; 151,600 sewing machine operators; 33,900 tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers; and 39,900 pressers. Apparel industry employees work primarily in manufacturing firms, though some are employed in retail establish...

Quick Facts


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Median Salary

$25,030

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Employment Prospects

Poor

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Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma


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Experience

Part-time work


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Skills

Computer


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Personality Traits

Artistic

Earnings

The apparel industry is highly competitive, and low profits and wages are characteristic. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the median hourly earnings of textile, apparel, and furnishings workers employed in the United States in May 2018 were $14.94 ($27,750 annually). Sewing machine operators earned a median hourly wage of $12.98, or $25,030 a year. Textile cutting machine opera...

Work Environment

Working conditions in apparel production vary by establishment and type of job. Older factories may be poorly lit and ventilated and may be congested. Modern facilities usually are more comfortable, better lit and ventilated, have more work space, and may even be carpeted. Patternmaking and spreading areas and retail stores are quiet, while sewing and pressing facilities often are noisy. Laundr...

Outlook

Employment of apparel, textile, and furniture workers is expected to decline through 2028, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Increased imports, use of offshore assembly, and greater productivity through the introduction of labor-saving machinery will reduce the demand for these workers.

Hand sewing is expected to decrease far less than other areas of apparel work due to the comp...

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