NEW YORK — So what should he do? That’s the question spurred by Mayor Bloomberg’s recent pledges of allegiance to the apparel industry — or at least the jobs he hopes it can create. The mayor’s goal is to rebuild New York City’s manufacturing base and that, naturally, includes apparel, where it once dominated the country but has since been surpassed by the greater Los Angeles area. Bloomberg is battling the tide of a declining sector, with apparel industry employment in Manhattan alone falling 4.8 percent to 58,877 last year from 2001 levels.
But, Bloomberg said recently, New York City’s apparel industry still employs 150,000 people overall and generates $35 billion in revenues annually. Jones Apparel Group alone employs 1,600-plus people in New York City, not counting those it will add to the payroll once its acquisition of Kasper A.S.L. is wrapped up later this year. Liz Claiborne is another major employer, with 1,000 staffers here.
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