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USA Textile Industry
The United States of America :After the fall of British leadership, the U.S. became the world's largest producer of cotton textiles. The U.S. cotton mills are mostly composite mills having spinning, weaving and finishing in the same establishment.
The cotton textile industry of the U.S.A. is localized notably in two areas, both on the Atlantic Seaboard, namely,
(1) A North-East area in the southern part of New-England states, and
(2) A South-East area encompassing the cotton growing states of north Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.
New-England States of the Northeast: The industry is particularly concentrated in the States of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The first cotton mill was started here in 1790 in Rhode Island and soon many mills rapidly developed in various towns of this area. But since then there has been striking decline in the importance of this area and the South-Eastern States have gradually acquired a dominating position.
Cotton States of the Southeast: The South-Eastern textile area extends like a belt from state of Virginia through Carolinas and Tennessee to Georgia. This belt of plains and hills between the Appalachian mountains and the Atlantic now possesses 85 per cent of country's cotton spindles and produces 75 per cent of nation's cotton textiles. Most of the cotton mills are located in the Piedmont, which is a transitional landform of rolling plain and hills between the Appalachian mountains and the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Cheap power is derived from the hydroelectric installations on many waterfalls of this transitional zone. Important mill centres in the southeastern belt are Greensbond, Releigh and Charlotte of North Carolina; Spartanburg, Greenville and Columbia of South Carolina; Chattanooga of Tennessee; and Atlanta, Augusta and Macon of Georgia. The largest production comes from North Carolina.
The locational advantages of the Southeastern states may be presented as below.
(1) Located on the Atlantic Seaboard the area is exposed to warm and moist wind from the Sea.
(2) Southern mills are near the cotton growing area.
(3) The rapidly growing population of the South provides a sizable local market. Mills of this area are nearer to the great market of the northern Mid-West. The foreign markets of the South American countries are also nearer from this area.
(4) Appalachian streams, the southern coal-fields and oil-fields and more particularly, with the development of hydroelectric stations on South Appalachian streams, the southern mills are in a comfortable position in respect of power.
(5) Easy availability of space for factory buildings, cheaper rent and lower local taxes are also important attractions in the southern region. In contrast with those of New England Southern mills are equipped with modern machines and are efficiently designed so that, during process of production raw materials move horizontally from step to step.
(6) Lower labour charge is probably the greatest attraction of the southern region. Laborers here work more hours in a shift and more days in a week. On an average southern wage rates are about 10 per cent lower than those in New England.
The only other area, which has some amount of textile manufacturing, is in and around Philadelphia. But the history of this area also is like that of the New England States. However, both the New England States and Philadelphia have certain advantages in the production of finer fabrics due to their longer experiences, when the Southern States are largely engaged in coarser varieties.
The U.S.A is gradually becoming an important competitor in the world's export trade of cotton textiles. In recent years she has been the third largest exporter, surpassed only by Japan and India. South American countries are the best customers of the U.S. textiles.
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