The American cotton industry has been a part of the global textile market since the industrial revolution in beginning in the late 1700’s. Today there are two varieties that are grown. There is American Upland and American Pima. The Upland variety accounts for 97% of the US production with Pima the remaining 3%. The states that produce the most Upland cotton in America include Texas, Georgia and Arkansas. California is the top producer of the Pima variety.
The production of cotton in America continues to grow. In 2011 the total amount of cotton harvested was 15.7 million bales. Of this there were 14.8 million bales of Upland and 845,700 bales of Pima cotton made available to the global market place. The total global production for 2011 was 122.8 million bales. In 2012 the amount in America was 17.3 million bales. A bale of cotton weighs just short of 500 pounds at 480 approximately.
From one of the earliest reports on the cotton industry in America back in year 1825 showed that cotton production was at 720,027 bales. The price per pound was $0.1219. Thru the period of 1860 the price remained relatively the same varying from 13 cents to 8 cents a pound. The biggest change came in the amount produced. America broke the 1 million bale amount in 1830 with 1,038,847 bales being produced. This grew to 4,861,202 bales in 1860. That same year 3,774,173 bales were exported. In 2011 the price for a pound of cotton was $0.91 for the Upland variety. The Pima was sold for $1.64 a pound.
America still processes and produces cotton made clothes to an increasing amount. This increase can be seen in the decrease of exports of American grown cotton to China, the largest user of cotton in the world. In 2012 4.2 million bales of cotton was exported to China. In 2013 the export amount was only 1.7 million bales. The total amount of cotton exported by America in 2012 was 13 million bales.
The exporting of not only cotton but textiles is still an important industry in America. In 2011 America was the third largest exporter of fabrics and threads to the world with a value of $17 billion to over 50 different nations around the globe.
The use of US cotton for the American market has been on the rise. While most of the statistics are old the US production of cotton products for the domestic market was at 5.5 billion pounds in the year 1989. This was the largest year since 1942.
In 2013 the US textile industry consumed 3.5 million bales of cotton for the global market. The main reason the American textile market for finished cotton goods is not strong is due to the wages these workers earn compared to their foreign counterparts. On average in 2011 the US textile worker earned $575 a week and their foreign counter parts were at $229. This average includes those workers in Bangladesh and China that earn much less than $100 a month.
The better paid US textile workers make a better cotton product. While it does cost slightly more, they also are known for lasting 3 to 4 time longer than their foreign counterparts.
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