Textile Bags

SIC 2393

Industry report:

This category includes establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing shipping and other industrial bags from purchased fabrics. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing plastic bags are classified under SIC 2673: Plastics, Foil, and Coated Paper Bags; those manufacturing laundry, wardrobe, shoe, and other textile house furnishing bags are classified under SIC 2392: House Furnishings, Except Curtains and Draperies; and those manufacturing luggage are classified under SIC 3161: Luggage.

Like most other sectors of the U.S. textile industry, textile bag production decreased throughout the first decade of the twenty-first century. This downward trend reflected an overall decline in the textiles industry, largely the result of weak economic conditions in the United States coupled with increasingly fierce competition from imports. The number of textile bag mills operating in the United States dropped from 261 in 2004 to 220 in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Roughly 10 percent of these made house furnishings, while the remaining 90 percent primarily manufactured textile bags (excluding bags for laundry, wardrobes, and shoes).

Most, 71 percent, of textile bag mills employed fewer than 20 workers, and only 6 percent had more than 100 employees. Total industry employment equaled 5,722, down from 6,730 in 2004, and 80 percent of employees were production workers. Total value of shipments reached $660.8 million, based on U.S. Census Bureau figures. This figure represented a significant decrease from less than a decade earlier, when value of shipments totaled $907 million in 1999.

According to Dun and Bradstreet's 2009 Industry Reports, Georgia employed the most people in this industry. Other states with large numbers of employees working in textile bag mills included California, Virginia, and Texas. Georgia was also the number one state in the late 2000s in terms of revenue, with $65.1 million, followed by California with $59.7 million and Texas with $52.8 million. Rounding out the top five were Illinois with $40.9 million and Washington with $27.2 million.

Firms that made textile bags their primary business in the late 2000s included Kenneth Fox Supply Co. of McAllen, Texas; Super Sack Manufacturing Corp. of Savoy, Texas; Cady Bag Co. (formerly Cady Industries) of Pearson, Georgia; and Bulk Lift International Inc. of Carpentersville, Illinois. In the early 2000s, Kansas City, Missouri-based BHA Group Holdings Inc. had been an industry leader, with sales of $181 million in 2003. However, the company was purchased by General Electric in 2004 for $260 million. Participants in the industry were represented and supported by such organizations as the Textile Bag and Packaging Association.

In 1994, the United States, Mexico, and Canada implemented the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a pact to gradually remove all tariffs and other trade restrictions from most goods made and sold in North America. Although this boosted U.S. textile exports to Mexico from $1.1 billion to more than $3.0 billion between 1995 and 2002, U.S. textile producers continued to struggle with increased imports. The World Trade Organization Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, which phased out quotas by 2005, cost the United States billions in lost textile sales, according to the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, a trade organization that operated from 1949 to 2004. The largest threat was from China, which imported $50 million worth of textile bags in 2005, up from $30 million the previous year.

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