What’s the latest on the state of textiles in Alaska?
Carriers and retailers say they are looking for ways to get customers to their stores, but some worry they are losing out to online retailers who charge higher prices for textiles.
In recent years, Alaska has been losing ground to online rivals.
Textile production has declined in recent years.
The state’s textile industry has struggled since the late 1990s and the industry lost over a quarter of its manufacturing jobs between 2002 and 2016, according to the Alaska Labor Department.
“We are going to have to look at other strategies,” said Melissa Anderson, the state’s director of economic development and workforce development.
Anderson said Alaska has made progress in the textile industry, but it needs more to get to its potential.
Airlines are looking at using their planes to deliver textiles to Alaska and Alaska’s airports, but that has not yet been successful.
One of the most important ways Alaska is getting back to its manufacturing roots is by increasing exports of clothing and textiles that are made locally.
In 2017, Alaska exported more than $2 billion worth of textile goods, according the Alaska Department of Commerce.
The Alaska Department also plans to sell some of its textile products at lower prices and open its own retail stores, according Anderson.
That will help revive the industry.
But Anderson said the state still has a long way to go in re-establishing itself as a manufacturer of textile goods.