In a striking pronouncement, report titled Forests and the
North Carolina Economy states that the State's wood products industry employs 18 percent of its manufacturing workers, or nearly 136,000 individuals.
This North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service report mentions though textile mill products and apparel industry is up one position over the State's wood products industry, its annual payroll stands at $3.8 billion.
In terms of value of shipments from North Carolina, textile mill products and apparels ($23.7 billion) stand second behind chemicals ($24 billion), while wood products rank number three ($19 billion) on annual basis, or 11 percent of State’s total. Notably, beverage and tobacco products top the chart at $25.8 billion.
Now, the mute question is where is the textile industry of NC State heading to?
Some have shifted manufacturing to Mexico, or in regions covered under multilateral agreements like DR-CAFTA, NAFTA, offering advantages in terms of low costs of manufacturing.
Yet others, have gone to Asia, specifically to China, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and countries that offer a multitude of investment, tax and labor benefits.
On brighter side, there are cases where some companies are doggedly withstanding competition or entering virgin territories like automotive, nanotech, technical and industrial textiles, chartering new avenues for growth and success.