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Industry facts

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  • U.S. autos: 11.6 million units sold in 2010.
  • China’s specialty fabrics market grew 10% in 2010.
  • U.S. GDP up 2.9% in 2010.
  • World market for specialty textiles grew 2-3% in 2010.
  • Steady improvement in the specialty fabrics industry anticipated.
  • Mills that have survived improved efficiencies to counter 2008-09 losses.
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 48% fewer textile and apparel manufacturing jobs between 2008 and 2018
  • The huge declines in sales experienced by many markets in 2009 seem to be over. Sales projections for highly fabricated products (which includes specialty fabrics) in the U.S. for the period 2011-2013 are expected to see decreases of just under 1 percent per year.
  • Traditional market segments (awnings, tents and events, fabric graphics) sales growth was vastly improved in 2010, after a 15-20% decline in 2009.
  • Marine market remains -7%
  • Asian specialty fabric market in 2010 +7%
  • New coal ash regulations will fuel geosynthetics sales.
  • Geosynthetics in U.S. construction has traditionally grown 5–6 percent annually; growth decreased 4.5 percent in 2009, but rebounded in 2010 reaching 2 percent. Nonwovens are a fast-growing geosynthetic market segment in the U.S., particularly geogrid and geofoam applications.
  • $78.5 billion predicted real value of infrastructure construction in 2011
  • Improved auto sales will drive some specialty fabrics industry growth.
  • Projected 2011 oil price $93 per barrel
  • Congress has delayed a decision on the extension of the federal surface transportation bill. Funding will remain at 2009 funding levels until Congress acts on the bill in 2011.
  • U.S. awning market improves. Awning recovers lead growth.
  • Mexico is number one in the U.S. specialty fabric export market with a 39% share in 2010.
  • In 2010, India achieved an 8% share in global specialty fabrics
  • The Chinese Yuan remains undervalued by as much as 40%.
  • The International Monetary Fund projected 4.8% growth in 2010 and 4.2% in 2011.
  • Global GDP growth decreased .6 percent in 2009

The State of the Industry is an annual look at the status of the U.S. specialty fabrics industry based on IFAI research. A more comprehensive and updated analysis, with detailed information on specific markets, will be available for purchase from the IFAI bookstore in April.
Contact Jeff Rasmussen, IFAI market research manager, at +1 651 225 6967 or

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