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Salary, Wages, Pay: Textile, Apparel & Furnishing Occupations




Earnings of textile, apparel, and furnishings workers vary by occupation. Because many production workers in apparel manufacturing are paid according to the number of acceptable pieces they produce, their total earnings depend on skill, speed, and accuracy. Workers covered by union contracts tend to have higher earnings. Median hourly earnings by occupation in May 2004 were as follows:

Fabric and apparel patternmakers $13.85
Extruding and forming machine setters, operators, and tenders, synthetic and glass fibers 13.37
Upholsterers 12.35
Textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators, and tenders 11.48
Textile winding, twisting, and drawing out machine setters, operators, and tenders 10.87
Tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers 10.79
Textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators and tenders 10.56
All other textile, apparel, and furnishings workers 10.34
Textile cutting machine setters, operators, and tenders 9.80
Shoe machine operators and tenders 9.44
Shoe and leather workers and repairers 9.29
Sewers, hand 9.13
Sewing machine operators 8.61
Pressers, textile, garment, and related materials 8.33
Laundry and dry-cleaning workers 8.28

Benefits also vary. A few large employers, for example, include childcare in their benefits package. Apparel workers in retail trade also may receive a discount on their purchases from the company for which they work. In addition, some of the larger manufacturers operate company stores from which employees can purchase apparel products at significant discounts. Some small firms, however, offer only limited benefits.