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California's apparel industry shrinks

During the last decade, the number of people working in California’s apparel and textile manufacturing industry has shrunk by 43 per cent as production of clothing and textiles has moved overseas. However, the industry is still a major contributor to California’s manufacturing economy. Nearly 80,000 people were employed in this sector in 2012, with 90 per cent of them working in Southern California.

The loss of durable manufacturing jobs in the early 1990s was largely a result of reductions in national defense spending. But the largest declines were in non-durable manufacturing, such as apparel, because of California’s high labor costs and proximity to Asian factories.

The state’s manufacturing sector accounts for only about 11 per cent of the goods and services produced in California. The service industry is the overwhelming winner, making up 70 per cent of all the state’s goods and services. There is aerospace, biochemical goods, semi-conductors and electronic components. Manufacturing output continued to climb while employment continues to fall. Te apparel industry can grow by producing more clothing that incorporates high-tech elements used in sportswear and athletic wear to monitor physical behavior, such as heart rate or blood pressure. The Los Angeles area continues to have the highest concentration of apparel workers in the United States.