Apparel Sourcing Intelligence - Worldwide

It’s not just the clothes getting globalised

We all think clothing production is about going where there are most workers.

It’s amazing how often the workers go to where the clothes are. A few stories from the February 2008 edition of The Source:

– The number of Bangladeshis moving abroad to work – a very large proportion destined for the apparel and textile industries – more than doubled in 2007 over 2006: from 381,000 to 832,000. And the number doubled again in the first two months of 2008, with 159,000 more people going.
– Riots in Jordan as Vietnamese workers protest over the living conditions in the factories they’ve been recruited for.
– Over half the garment industry workers in Mauritius are now temporary immigrants
– Sri Lanka’s apparel factories investing $250,000 in a recruitment campaign to plug widespread gaps in their labour force.

All this at a time no-one’s still sure how many workers in Vietnam and China actually came back to their factories in China and Vietnam after the lunar new year holiday – and how many found new jobs nearer their homes. And just a few weeks after some parts of Shanghai were reporting fourteen vacant sewing jobs for every applicant.

In much of the world, the old days of putting a factory down and finding a thousand-strong queue asking for jobs have long gone. These days, it’s not just getting the right workers: it’s finding any workers at all, and possibly having to fly them halfway round the world.

Just another part of the huge surge in inflationary pressures the industry’s been hitting