When the textile mill goes, so does a way of life

Posted by scapozzola on 03/16/2010

In USA Today, reporter Paul Wiseman takes a look at what happens to a community after the local mill closes.  He traveled to North Carolina to look at the after-effects of America's once thriving textile industry. He cites one former textile worker, a mother of two, who remembers when jobs were plentiful: "When you started work, you thought you'd be there until you retired."  Now she struggles to get by on a lower income than her factory days. Wiseman says this is typical of the region:
Mount Airy (pop. 9,500) has lost 3,180 jobs in textile and apparel plant closings since 1999, the North Carolina Employment Security Commission says. The nation has lost 707,000 textile and apparel jobs since January 2000 and nearly 263,000 since a trade pact phased out quotas on textile imports in January 2005, opening the floodgates to imports. Those jobs won't be coming back: The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the three occupations that will lose jobs the fastest (on a percentage basis) from 2008 to 2018 are in textiles. The bureau expects textile and apparel manufacturing jobs will drop 48% to 259,000 from 2008 to 2018.
Read the full article.

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