2001 Appraisal: Apparel Employment

California’s apparel industry made some significant gains in employment. However, it reported an overall decrease by year’s end, which contributed to the loss of 75,000 jobs in U.S. manufacturing reported this year. State apparel-industry employment for textile mill products in November 2001 was at 26,200, compared to 27,000 employed one year earlier. For apparel and other textile products, employment was at 138,500 in November 2001 compared to 144,000 in November 2000. Both sectors combined posted an over-the-year decline of 6,300 jobs, according to data compiled by the California Employment Development Department.

During the spring several mid-sized operations in Southern California closed their doors due to the energy crisis, and low consumer confidence following Sept. 11 has also reduced production.

In Los Angeles County, apparel and other textile products was among the industries most responsible for overall county job loss, with 4,000 jobs lost, according to the Labor Market Information Division.

Employment in apparel and other textile products in Riverside and San Bernardino counties held steady with 2,500 jobs, dipping slightly to 2,400 in April before gradually peaking to 2,600 in June, where it held steady for four months before decreasing back to 2,500 in November 2001. Apparel employment in Orange County continued to grow over the course of the year, increasing from 19,900 to 20,200.

In San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties, apparel employment decreased from 11,000 jobs in November 2000 to 9,900 in November 2001. Many of those lost jobs may have migrated just across the bay to Oakland, where rents are cheaper than in San Francisco and space more plentiful. However, this currently cannot be verified as the state Department of Labor does not collect apparel and textile employment data from Alameda County.—Claudia Figueroa