The Fastest Growing and Dying Industries in America, 2012 Edition
The other important trend to note in the growth list is the number of consumer-driven industries: pilates, self-tanning, hot sauce, online eyeglass stores and (arguably) for-profit universities are all supported directly by buyers, and one could say the same thing for social network game development as well. Compare that with 2011, which was almost entirely service and manufacturing driven (video games being the only tangible product), and you could make the claim that consumers are feeling more confident and that the economy is stabilizing or improving.
When the faltering industries come into play, we see a lot more retention. Newspaper publishing, video and game rentals, and photofinishing all reappear in 2012—the industries that were struggling the most last year have not found their footing and may truly be on their way out. And once again, apparel manufacturing takes up a significant chunk of the list with three slots. In 2011 the dying industries were textile mills, apparel manufacturers and formal/costume rental; this year we have costume and team uniform manufacturing, footwear manufacturing, and women's and girl's apparel. I refuted this in my blog last year, claiming that apparel sales were improving and citing earnings reports from a number of industry companies including Ennis, Broder, Delta and Hanesbrands.
That was last year. Since then, across the board, almost every apparel manufacturer has reported decreased revenue for 2011 due to the massive spike in cotton prices, and Hanesbrands announced intentions to shutter its private label business. Does that indicate that the U.S. apparel industry is dying? I don't think so. While revenue was down for most apparel manufacturers, sales generally remained flat or increased (Broder was up 5 percent, Delta was up 14.5 percent) heading into the new year. As manufacturers work through the remainder of their cotton stores purchased at peak prices, they'll see revenues increase to match sales. What's more, the percentage decrease for the "dying" apparel industries is lower than in 2011 (except for costume and team, which is the same 9%), leading me to believe the market's contraction is slowing rather than growing.