Textile mills, and companies that create socks, carpeting and knitted apparel, have faced a difficult time due to overseas competition. Because facilities outside the U.S. can make these products more cheaply, domestic demand has plummeted.
The industry, with nearly $55 billion in revenue last year, has lost 50% of that income stream since 2000, with another 10% reduction unraveling by 2016, according to IBISWorld.
There is one bright spot. U.S. companies producing nonwoven fabrics still have a global upside because other countries have not yet perfected the technology to produce flame-resistant or moisture-absorbing fabrics.This niche area is good news for such companies as Hanesbrands (HBI - Get Report) and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A - Get Report), a major player in the mill space.