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Global Value Chains of Apparel Drive US Jobs Even When Manufactured Overseas

Global Apparel Brands Mean US Jobs Even When Manufactured Overseas

Despite the hue and cry that went up when we learned that the US Olympic team uniforms were ‘manufactured overseas,’ the reality is that MILLIONS of US workers rely upon and contribute to, the global value chains (GVCs) that design, produce, market, ship and deliver leading brands such as Polo (Ralph Lauren).  Our kudos to Moongate & Associates, for its study published this month (and commissioned by the TPP) which clarifies with impressive supporting data, that the perception that there are two categories into which apparel falls:  imported or ‘made in the USA,’ is simplistic and outdated in today’s global economy.

In fact, according to this study, on average 70.3% of the retail price of studied apparel is value added by high paying US jobs.

Most of the lowest skilled jobs are done overseas, leaving the more highly skilled professional employment concentrated in the United States.  These jobs are spread throughout the stages of U.S. value–‐added beginning with fashion designers (average salary $73,640), and fabric and apparel patternmakers ($48,110), and continuing with transportation, storage, and distribution managers ($82,923), compliance officers ($66,620), software developers ($95,283), and sales managers ($111, 283). Moreover, there are high–‐quality blue–‐collar jobs throughout the chain; for example, cargo and freight agents ($45,100), production, planning, and expediting clerks ($41,060), industrial machinery mechanics ($45,740) 9, railroad employees ($76,574) 10, and longshore workers ($124,138)11.

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