WASHINGTON — U.S.-made yarn prices soared in January, as the inflationary price pressure from historically high raw cotton prices that is gripping the industry throughout the supply chain broke through at the core of America’s diminished manufacturing base.
The Labor Department’s Producer Price Index, released Wednesday, showed wholesale prices for domestically produced yarns rose 12.3 percent in January compared with December and spiked 20.2 percent against a year earlier. Wholesale price inflation also began to creep into U.S.-made apparel, although at a significantly lower rate. Those prices rose 0.5 percent last month compared with December and increased 0.9 percent compared with a year earlier.
While the PPI is not considered a major economic indicator for apparel because only a small percentage of goods sold at retail in the country are made here, it is still considered a strong barometer for wholesale prices of yarns and apparel fabric that are made by such companies as Parkdale Mills, Inc., Frontier Spinning Mills and International Textile Group, which operates Cone Denim and Burlington Worldwide.
Economists also saw troubling signs in core producer prices, which exclude volatile food and energy sectors, and were up 0.5 percent in January, the largest increase since October 2008. Prices for all goods and services increased 0.8 percent last month.