Apparel Sourcing Intelligence - Worldwide

US announces $150 mn public-private textile investment competition – as US textile and apparel jobs continue their decline.

The US Department of Defense launched on March 18 a competition to form a new manufacturing hub focused on revolutionary fibre and textile technologies. The $75 million federal investment will be matched by more than $75 million of private sector resources.

The competition is for  a proposed Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles Manufacturing Innovation Institute (RFTMII):  the ninth such competition launched and the first of eight new institutes that the President’s budget wants to fund by the end of 2016.

Each manufacturing institute serves as a regional hub for leadership in emerging manufacturing technologies, bridging the gap between early research and product development by bringing together companies, universities and other academic and training institutions, as well as government agencies to co-invest in key technology areas that can encourage investment and production in the United States.

The RFTMII is intended to “ensure that America remains at the leading edge of fibre science”, through investments in researching, prototyping, and commercialising technical textiles.

The announcement broadly coincides with a 1.4% year on year increase in US upstream textile jobs: described by the US White House as the first time in two decades ther industry has added jobs.  Apparel making jobs in February  fell  3.4% year on year, meaning that textile and apparel jobs fell 0.6%. Thanks to the growth in textile jobs, though, February’s combined fall was the second slowest for decades.