By  on November 18, 2009

WASHINGTON — Wholesale prices for U.S.-made apparel rose 0.2 percent in October compared with September and advanced 0.3 percent from a year ago, the Labor Department said Tuesday in its Producer Price Index.

Women’s and girls’ domestic apparel prices increased 0.1 percent in October, but were flat year-over-year. Men’s and boys’ apparel rose 0.5 percent month-to-month and grew 1 percent compared with a year earlier.

Prices for all U.S.-made goods rose 0.3 percent in October after a decline of 0.6 percent in September and an increase of 1.7 percent in August.

The October PPI “was another in a series of goldilocks readings on inflation: not too hot, not too cold,” said Patrick Newport, U.S. economist for IHS Global Insight.

The PPI for apparel is not a true indicator of industry price fluctuations because of the small percentage of U.S.-made goods sold at retail. The Consumer Price Index, to be released today, is a more accurate measure because it reflects all goods, including imports.

Domestic prices for women’s knit shirts and blouses were flat in October compared with September and declined 0.1 percent year-to-year. Woven shirts and blouses increased 0.2 percent, but fell 0.6 percent in 12-month comparisons. Prices for jeans and slacks declined 0.7 percent in October, but were flat compared with a year earlier.

Prices for men’s work clothing and suits were both flat, but rose 4.8 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, in 12-month comparisons. Knit shirt prices gained 3.3 percent month-to-month and advanced 0.3 percent compared with a year ago. Woven shirts increased 1.7 percent month-to-month and were up 1 percent compared with October 2008.

Apparel fabric prices were flat, but fell 2.3 percent in 12-month comparisons. Prices for fabrics made at textile product mills, primarily home furnishing and industrial fabrics, rose 1 percent month-to-month and advanced 1.9 percent compared with a year earlier.

Deeper in the pipeline, domestic synthetic fiber prices declined 1.3 percent and 4.2 percent year-over-year. Yarns rose 0.3 percent, but declined 4.6 percent compared with a year earlier. Greige fabrics dipped 0.1 percent in the month, but rose 0.3 percent for the year. Finished fabric prices fell 0.1 percent and 1.4 percent year-to-year.

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