Yarn Spinning Mills

SIC 2281

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This industry is made up of establishments primarily engaged in spinning yarn wholly or chiefly by weight of cotton, manmade fibers, silk, wool, mohair, or similar animal fibers. Products include acetate and acrylic yarn, made from purchased staple; carded, carpet, combed, and cordage yarn (all of cotton); crochet yarn; and cotton, silk, wood, and manmade staple.

Valued at a total $5.14 billion in 2008, the yarn spinning mills industry, like many industries, were negatively impacted in 2009 and 2010 by the global recession. As the industry was established in the eighteenth century, most spinning mills operated as independent entities. Later mergers and consolidations in the yarn spinning industry created opportunities for firms to diversify, and many spinning mills either became subsidiaries or integrated components of large carpet or textile mills or combined with specialized dyeing facilities. In the 1990s and early 2000s, these mills increasingly used advanced technology to meet the demands with efficient production and improved fiber quality while protecting the environment and conserving resources.

An average two-piece suit includes about 67,000 yards of yarn that is composed of roughly 350 million man-made fibers, and then textured and colored to produce a natural look. That process is a basic description of the product flow of yarn spinning mills from fiber to yarn to apparel and home accessories. The actual yarn spinning process begins with the cleaning of cotton, wool, silk, or other fibers, followed by a combing or carding process that turns tangled fibers into straight, even rolls that resemble loose ropes of soft cotton yarn. Depending on the specifications, machines are set to spin yarn of multiple lengths and textures.

Consumers with active lifestyles have called for more livable fabric that combines fashion with rough-ready, easy care qualities, and stretchable wear. "Casual Fridays" in the United States have supported a move toward casual business dress, which has been particularly good for cotton. The volume of cotton had increased more than 30 percent since 1990, while all other fibers had only increased eight percent. All but five percent of spun yarn in the United States was made from cotton and other manmade fibers in the early 2000s. Noncellulosic fiber and other natural fibers overtook carded cotton yarn as the largest sector in 2009, shipping products valued at $2.36 billion, compared to $2.11 billion of carded cotton.

In the 1980s, protecting the health of textile workers became an issue. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which was formed in 1970, set out to minimize illness and death caused by "brown lung" disease, which was the result of cotton dust in textile mills. In 1988, an estimated 35,000 current and former textile employees had severe cases of "brown lung," and another 100,000 workers had symptoms that indicated early stages of the disease. As unions worked to improve hazardous mill conditions, textile manufacturers often opposed the strict sanitation measures imposed by OSHA. In the early 1990s, the legality of some of the restrictions and how best to provide safer factory conditions continued to be questioned.

By the early 2000s, yarn spinning mills employed 48,468 workers, with 43,956 of those in production. Employees worked slightly more than 42 hours a week, averaged five hours of overtime, and were paid $9.02 an hour. Most mills were in North Carolina or Georgia.

The value of shipments had fluctuated throughout the mid-2000s, falling from a high of $6.38 billion in 2002 to $5.87 billion in 2003, then rebounding to $6 billion in 2004 before dropping to $5.94 billion in 2005. The value of carded cotton yarn industry shipments fell from a high of $3.09 billion in 2001 to $2.35 billion in 2003 and then to $2.18 billion in 2005. The industry blamed a weakened economy, as well as ongoing bombardment by imports.

The financial crisis that began in October 2008 had a major impact on spinning mills as well as on the overall textile industry. According to Textiles Today in October 2008, "After weathering one storm after another, overcoming improbable odds and constantly reinventing themselves to meet the expectations of a constantly changing customer base, U.S. yarn spinners--especially the smaller ones--are at a crisis point again, this time as a result of a faltering global financial industry." Textile manufacturers joined with the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition to lobby Congress to voice the need for unfair trade practices to cease, as well as to protest the loss of manufacturing jobs to offshore sites.

Current Conditions

In 2009, the yarn spinning industry generated revenues of approximately $3.8 billion in 2009. Imports were valued at $438.3 million from 73 countries, but exports were valued at $1.2 billion and went to 92 countries. Accounting for import and export balances, total domestic demand in 2009, according to Research and Markets, was $3.1 billion. Decreased demand combined with excess retail inventory to reduce demand by as much as 25 percent during parts of 2008 and 2009. Although ongoing overseas competition put pressure on the U.S. textile industry, certain provision, such as the requirement that all U.S. military gear be manufactured with the United States guaranteed that the U.S. textile industry would continue to function through the economic downturn.

In the late 2000s, and into the early 2010s, the U.S. textile industry continued to feel the effects of the recession that began in 2008. During 2008, many cotton spinners added capacity--or brought idled capacity back on line--in anticipation of increased demand; however, the economy, coupled with high cotton prices and lower synthetic fiber prices, led to issues with overcapacity during 2009. However, because the U.S. yarn spinning industry is tied closely to the global marketplace, U.S. spinners are affected by numerous big-picture issues such as trade agreements, overseas labor disputes, and global supply and demand. During the late 2000s, some spinning costs were increasing in overseas markets, thus increasing the appeal of U.S. yarn spinners.

Industry Leaders

Parkdale Mills, Inc. of Gastonia, North Carolina, was the largest privately held company in the yarn spinning industry. In 2010, it operated 25 plants in the United States, Mexico, and Columbia as well as one research facility. Its customers included L.L. Bean, Spring Maid, and Land's End. The National Spinning Company, located in New York, is a privately owned company that has been doing business since 1923. The company, which employed 700 at four facilities, provided high-quality yarns and dyeing services. Pharr Yarns Inc. of McAdenville, North Carolina, employed 1,800 in 2009. Pharr specialized in high performance engineered yarns for a numerous of applications such as conveyor belts, firefighter and military uniforms, and carpet and other apparel. Unifi, located in Greensboro, North Carolina, is a publicly traded company. The company posted revenues of $553.7 million for 2009.

Research and Technology

In contrast to other industries, growth in technological advances allowed a clear vision for twenty-first century yarn spinning mills. Industry literature referred to spinning systems rather than spinning mills. Staffing of daytime operations for spinning departments was expected to be filled by maintenance technicians, monitoring personnel, and a single supervisor. Night operations were expected to be unstaffed and monitored by sophisticated computers.

Changes in yarn, speed, styles, and other functions became electronic functions or increasingly programmable. A severe reduction in manpower was a certain outcome of computerization. To prepare for the coming high tech environment, industry research and development focused on refining and developing new equipment. Air-jet spinning machines, which had long been recognized for evenness and minimal defects, were expected to be increasingly accepted because they could spin cotton-polyester blend yarn. If slippage problems could be overcome, the friction spinning machine would be used for medium and fine yarn count range, especially for cotton, due to the high quality and evenness of its output.

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News and information about Yarn Spinning Mills

Research and Markets Adds Report: Yarn Spinning Mills Industry in the U.S. and Its International Trade [2012 Q3 Edition]
Manufacturing Close-Up; September 5, 2012; 573 words
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Research and Markets Adds Report: Yarn Spinning Mills Industry in the U.S. and Its International Trade.
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Research and Markets announced the addition of Supplier Relations US's new report "Yarn Spinning Mills Industry in the U.S. and its International Trade [2013 Q2 Edition]" to its offerings. In a release, Research and Markets...
Contract Notice: Department of Justice (District Of Columbia) Issues Solicitation for Yarn Spinning Mills
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; March 20, 2012; 322 words
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Domestic yarn spinning mills operating at unusually high levels; reversing hisotrical slowdown at this time of year, must shut down only two days.
Daily News Record; December 24, 1997; 700+ words
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Removing Forced Labor from Cotton Supply Chain
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...and the facilities in which different cottons are blended together. YESS aims to close this gap by focusing on yarn spinning mills in the supply chain, and establishing a training, assessment and verification process. Identifying and addressing...
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...plastic bottles. The bottles are sorted and then melted down and formed into chips. The chips are then sent to yarn spinning mills to be melted down again into pellets that are then shredded up and spun into yarn.There were already several clothing...

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