U.S. retail cotton use shrinks in 2022
U.S. retail cotton use—an estimate of cotton product usage by consumers—decreased 8 percent in 2022 to 9.1 billion pounds. This decline was realized after a nearly 30-percent surge in 2021 when U.S. retail cotton use rebounded from the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020. In the United States, most retail clothing purchases are of imported products. Accordingly, clothing imports are used as an economic indicator for the health of the global textile and apparel industry. In 2021, U.S. cotton product imports—mostly clothing—jumped dramatically, as did U.S. mill use and cotton product exports—mostly yarn and fabric. By 2022, however, U.S. retail demand for cotton products slipped to near its pre-pandemic trend but was still the second highest in over a decade. Although each component of U.S. retail cotton use—cotton mill use, product exports, and product imports—decreased in 2022, the import decline was significantly larger and led the reduction in retail cotton use. As a result, the U.S. per capita estimate of retail cotton use slipped from nearly 30 pounds in 2021 to 27.5 pounds in 2022. With U.S. and world economic expansion projected to slow in 2023, limited growth is also expected for U.S. retail cotton use. This information is drawn from the Economic Research Service’s March 2023 Cotton and Wool Outlook.
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