Dollars and Jens
Monday, March 29, 2004
Textiles, Trade, and Journalism
Check out this Virginia Postrel post about Scalamandre, a textile company, moving operations from New York to South Carolina. She points out the difference between the coverage in the New York Times and the coverage in the Greenville [, South Carolina] News.
My friend David Trumbull happens to be the Director of Member Services at the National Textile Association. He sent me the following (with emphasis added by me):
Regarding Scalamandre's jacquard weaving operation relocating from New York to South Carolina, the [New York Times] got the story wrong. The wage difference between New York and South Carolina was not the reason for moving South. Scalamandre is a successful company in an extremely high-end niche market in a capital (not labor) intense industry. And Scalamandre is growing and paying rather good wages, despite foreign competition and a general weakness in the domestic textile industry. In fact Scalamandre's growth is exactly what prompted the move. Land is very expensive in New York, taxes are very high in New York, and (likely the biggest factor in the decision to move) it is all but impossible to get the needed environmental okays and other government permits required to expand a manufacturing operation in the metro region.
I do not know the management at Scalamandre, but I do speak frequently with other textile executives with plants in the New York metro area and have heard comments is that there is an unwritten government policy of eliminating manufacturing jobs from the metro area.
Incidentally, the president of the NTA is scheduled to be on CNBC tomorrow at 9:15 eastern time.