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Texas Shoemakers Struggle To Keep Footing

Manufacturing has been a key component of an uneven U.S. recovery. But there are still some industries that are in long-term decline.


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Industry publishing firm IBISWorld has released a five-year forecast for ten of what it names bluntly as “dying industries.” Several, such as apparel, have seen much of the work move overseas to take advantage of lower labor costs. Others, such as newspaper publishing, are on the losing end of changing technology and consumer tastes. IBISWorld forecasts all ten will keep bleeding revenue through 2017.

Lead analyst Mary Nanfelt says Texas stands to lose most from the loss of shoe and footwear manufacturing, where nearly 18% of the industry’s U.S. working plants remain. Nanfelt says a focus on high-end footwear has helped keep the industry from dying out completely.

“They feel the quality can be better achieved here in the United States instead of outsourcing it to, say, China or Vietnam.”

IBISWorld projects U.S. shoe and footwear makers will shed nearly 150,000 more jobs over the next five years.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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