Shoppers are inspecting goods for "Made in USA" labels, as a deep recession has encouraged more Americans to reflect on lost manufacturing jobs. But what about the fabric used to make apparel and home furnishings? That material comes from where?
Most textile manufacturing is based in Asia. But cotton—the soft, fluffy staple that for decades drove the American South as a one-crop economy—has been enjoying a modern renaissance of sorts.
After peaking in the late '90s, use of U.S. mills that churn raw cotton fiber into spun yarn has been stable since 2008, according to Cotton Incorporated, a trade group that works to support cotton's share of the textile markets. The U.S. is the world's third-largest cotton-producing nation behind China and India, among more than 70 countries.