MEASURING EFFECT ON JOBS FROM NAFTA

Byline: Joanna Ramey

WASHINGTON — Measuring the impact of jobs lost because of the North American Free Trade Agreement is difficult.
One indication — although it’s not considered a complete gauge of the effect of the agreement — is the number of workers awarded government assistance after their companies relocated to Mexico or Canada, or their jobs were eliminated due to import competition from those countries.
Of the 55,753 workers the Labor Department said have been affected by NAFTA since its inception Jan. 1, 1994, about 19 percent, or 10,500, are from the apparel industry.
Myriad apparel companies are on the NAFTA trade adjustment assistance list, ranging from small assembly operations to big-name manufacturers like The Leslie Fay Cos. — 100 of its New York-based workers certified — and the Lee Apparel division of VF Corp. — 510 workers in its St. Joseph, Mo., denim apparel factory received benefits for training and living expenses. So far, the federal government has spent roughly $57 million on such benefits.
At another VF division, H.H. Cutler, 283 laid-off employees were certified. They had worked in a Grand Rapids, Mich., factory producing T-shirts and sweatshirts.
Other apparel companies whose workers have received benefits include: 141 Tultex Corp. employees in Marion, N.C., who made knit sweatshirts and sweatpants; 340 Farah USA workers in an El Paso, Tex., shirt, pants and coat mill; 500 Woolrich workers in Pennsylvania and Colorado involved in sportswear and outerwear production; 245 Sara Lee Knit Products workers from a Midway, Ga., fleece garment plant, and 62 Andover Togs children’s apparel workers from its Dover Division in South Boston, Va.
— Fairchild News Service

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