Dresses and accessories made with a lot of synthetic fabrics have long been the norm in the US.
But the fashion industry is struggling to compete.
Read moreThe American clothing industry has long relied on inexpensive labor to make its products, and in the past few decades, as the supply of cheap and high-quality synthetic fabrics has dropped, so have wages.
But in a new report, The Business of Fashion, a research and consulting firm, says that in recent years, the cost of labor in apparel manufacturing has skyrocketed, with workers in apparel factories earning about $4 an hour less than in 2013.
The report found that the cost for a single garment worker to make $8.40 per hour in 2016 was $9.30 in 2020.
For an assembly line worker making $15 per hour, that figure was $18.50.
And for a production worker making a salary of $10.50 per hour the figure was nearly $25 an hour.
The biggest increase in wage rates for garment workers came from the garment manufacturing industry in the Midwest, where the wages are lower than in other parts of the country.
In the South, the manufacturing industry is more expensive in some places, and the median wage is higher than the $7.75 average for the country as a whole.
The median wage for a worker in the garment industry in Alabama is $10 an hour, while the average wage in South Carolina is $9 an hour and $10 in Arkansas.
But even though wages for workers in the manufacturing sector are high, they aren’t growing fast enough to offset the losses in demand for apparel, the report said.
It said that while apparel sales have grown steadily over the past two decades, the number of workers in these industries has grown at a slower rate than the overall economy.